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For a large part of the story of Replacement Child, I was not present, or even alive yet. A crucial portion of the story, including the plane crash that took my sister’s life, happened two years before I was born.
This posed an immediate problem for me as I began to write, as I know it does for other memoir writers who struggle with how to convey parts of their story that they did not witness or participate in personally.
Join me for our Roundtable Discussion of how to handle this inherent issue for many memoir writers, including:
- When is it okay to re-create a scene for your memoir, and still have it considered as memoir?
- How can you develop dialogue for scenes you did not witness?
- How can research play a role in truthfully re-creating pivotal information, even if you were not there?
- What is the line between fiction and truth in memoir writing?What about “fictional memoir?”(Ala, Jeannette Walls, Half Broke Horses)Discussion of the classic memoir, Mary Karr’s, The Liars’ Club, as it pertains to strict truth telling in memoir.
We expect, and look forward to, more questions along these lines that we can discuss further.
About Judy L. Mandel
Judy L. Mandel made her living as a marketing professional for over 20 years before writing her first book, Replacement Child. She grew up in New Jersey, but when she went to college in Connecticut, she knew she had found her home.
Her writing life began as a newspaper reporter. She later worked in public relations and advertising and somehow found herself in corporate communications at various insurance companies. Her memoir grew out of early essays and the promise she made to her family to tell their story.
Judy now balances her business writing for clients with writing fiction, nonfiction and articles. She writes an ongoing blog on PsychologyToday.com.
About Replacement Child
Judy Mandel is the replacement child for her sister who was killed in a tragic accident. It would be years before she would understand how the event, that happened before she was born, shaped her life.
A plane crashes into a family’s home. A two-year-old girl is critically burned and a mother is forced to make an impossible choice. The death of a child leaves a hole in the family that threatens to tear it apart.
In a great act of hope, the parents give birth to a “replacement child,” born to heal wounds and provide a “salve for the burns.” The child unwittingly plays her role throughout childhood, riding the deep and hidden currents of the family tragedy.
In this powerful story of love and lies, hope and forgiveness, Judy Mandel discovers the truth that changes her life forever and forces her to confront the complex layers of her relationships with her father, mother, and sister. When she has her own child, her epiphany comes full circle.