I watched Sunday Morning on CBS yesterday, as I do most Sundays, and I was delighted to see a segment with Ian McEwan, author of 18 novels, most famously of Atonement, but also author of my favorite of his, On Chesil Beach. He was discussing where his ideas come from, since some of his work is quite dark, in stark contrast to his life and persona. McEwan’s reflections on this seminal topic for writers was quite interesting. I am often—well, often is a stretch—sometimes asked the same question by readers, and my answer is similar to McEwan’s. I don’t really know, it’s from someplace in the brain, from some experience in my life that isn’t always completely clear to me. But, I also answer another question he was asked: whether his stories are autobiographical, and again, my answer paralleled his. The answer is not exactly. In some sense, all stories have an element of autobiography in them, but like McEwan, mine are reflective of me imagining my life having taken another turn. In Holy Water, I imagined what would happen to a young idealistic physician visiting New Orleans during a critical point in his training. Well, I was an idealistic young physician (not exactly like my main character, though) and I was quite taken with New Orleans when I visited it many years later. So I wondered what if? and the story gradually emerged. The actual events never transpired, but they might have. Some of the characters were developed from actual people I saw, and many of the places (but not all) are real. It’s all great and mysterious fun for me, and I hope the stories touch and entertain you.