Jeff Glor talks to Jennifer Miller about "The Year of the Gadfly."
Jeff Glor: What inspired you to write the book?
Jennifer Miller: The Year of the Gadfly is a literary mystery set at a high-powered prep school in northwestern Massachusetts. The novel grew out of two experiences I had as a teenager. The first and most serious, was the death of my high school boyfriend, who was killed in a car accident at the age of 17. I based one of the characters in Gadfly on him. I wanted to remember my boyfriend, of course, but I also wanted to better understand the brilliant, kind, and troubled person he was. The second event was a fairly major cheating scandal that my brother exposed at his all-boys prep school in Maryland. In bringing this event light--and in spite of being labeled a NARC and a snitch-- my brother exposed the hypocrisy of the school's honor code and its proclamations of integrity and brotherhood.
JG: What surprised you the most during the writing process?
JM: I spent six years writing this novel and the book I started out writing bears almost no resemblance to the book in its current form. My protagonist--a precocious teenage journalist who talks to the apparition of CBS' own Edward R. Murrow--didn't exist until year 4 of the writing process!
JG: What would you be doing if you weren't a writer?
JM: I don't have any other skills! I'm a journalist as well as a fiction writer, so even if I wasn't writing novels, I'd still be out reporting. I also love bluegrass music and play the banjo, so maybe I'd join a band.
JG: What else are you reading right now?
JM: I just started "A Thousand Acres" by Jane Smiley.
JG: What's next for you?
JM: I'm working on a second novel about the daughter of a Vietnam vet who takes off on a motorcycle trip with her dad and his war buddies when her fiance comes home from Iraq with PTSD.
For more on "The Year of the Gadlfy," visit her website.