Hello from Susan Fromberg Schaeffer

The Madness of A Seduced W oman just celebrated its fifteenth birthday. (When I was writing it, I intended to call it The Victim, but Saul Bellow had already preempted that title.)

I think of this as my most autobiographical novel, although the fact that the novel is set back in time makes the links between the lives of the characters in the book and my own life hard to find. I've always thought that poets choose to write poetry rather than fiction because poets often write in a kind of code that obscures what they are saying about their actual lives, but writing a novel which takes place in another century accomplishes much the same thing.

It is a real delight to hear from people who find that Madness means something to them--especially when I am beginning a new novel, as I am now, and am convinced that I will never be able to finish it, and even if I do, no one will want to read it. When I was writing Madness, I couldn't believe the novel would ever be finished, and I wrote for the first few weeks in a deep state of dread. Looking back, it is easy to forget all that. Probably writers SHOULD forget what it was like to write the last novel, and the one before that, and the one before that, or we would all be plumbers. It must be good to be a plumber. Everyone is happy to see you, and no one reviews your work. On the other hand, when you get finished, you haven't written the book you wanted to write. And so we continue.

May 1998

Back to WOW Books