E.L. Doctorow talks about what the publishing climate was like around the time that Salman Rushdie’s “The Satanic Verses” came out. The book coincided with the release of Doctorow’s novel, “Billy’s Bathgate.” The two authors shared a French publisher and Doctorow recalls bookstores were practically empty. “While I was determined to back Salman and speak out against what was happening to him, I was really angry at him for ruining the possible sales of my novel.”
The celebrated author says he’ll often “write to find out what” he’s writing about when an inchoate book idea calls to him. He alternates between a retreat in Sag Harbor, N.Y., and a busier city life in New York City. He says Sag Harbor is very quiet and “if you don’t write, you go mad.”
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Excerpted from ANDREW’S BRAIN by E.L. Doctorow. Copyright © 2014 by E.L Doctorow. Excerpted by permission of Random House. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.