Jeff Glor talks to Camille Noe Pagán about "The Art of Forgetting."
Jeff Glor: What inspired you to write the book?
Camille Noe Pagán: Just under three years ago, I was writing a story about brain health for Women's Health magazine. One of the neurologists I interviewed told me that women should worry less about doing Sudoku and eating Omega-3-rich diets and more about wearing a helmet during sporting events and driving with reckless drivers, because brain injury is a significant risk to women, especially younger women. I began to research brain injury and discovered that more women in the U.S. will suffer a brain injury each year than be diagnosed with breast cancer. In fact, brain injury affects more than 1.5 million Americans each year, and in many cases, sufferers experience personality changes and memory problems that can follow them throughout life. I decided that instead of just covering this as a journalist, I would try my hand at writing a novel about someone affected by brain injury. And so "The Art of Forgetting"--the story of how two long-time friends' relationship is forever changed after one of them suffers a traumatic brain injury--was born.
JG: What surprised you the most during the writing process?
CNP: I was surprised by just how much I enjoyed writing. Writers often discuss how hard writing is--which is true--and many say they don't actually like the process of writing. I'm not one of them. I find it a wonderful escape from real life. Even on my worst writing day, I'm enjoying myself.
JG: What would you be doing if you weren't a writer?
CNP: I'd be an aspiring writer! I can't imagine doing anything else. That said, I think I'd enjoy a career as an interior designer, house stager or professional organizer. I love design and architecture and look forward to the point in my life where I have more time to indulge in those interests. For now, my writing and my two children mean I can usually only spare a few minutes on the weekends to work on our house.
JG: What else are you reading right now?
CNP: "Cleopatra: A Life," by Stacy Schiff. Then I'm planning on reading Laura Dave's "The First Husband" and "Sarita Mandana's Tiger Hills."
JG: What's next for you?
CNP: Novel two, of course! I can't say much about the subject yet, but I will say that it's historical fiction, and quite a departure from "The Art of Forgetting." I love a good challenge.
For more on "The Art of Forgetting," visit the Penguin Group website.