February 2, 2006
in a lively conversation
as part of Ayn Rand 101
Ayn Rand: My Fiction-Writing Teacher
Erika Holzer's book
Ayn Rand: My
Fiction-Writing Teacher: A Novelist's Mentor-Protege
Relationship with the Author of Atlas Shrugged offers an insider's view of the unique learning relationship that developed in the mid-sixties between Ayn Rand and this lawyer-turned-novelist.
Holzer's first two novels are Double
Crossing and Eye for an Eye. This second became the film starring Sally Field and Kiefer Sutherland, directed by John Schlesinger.
Holzer's remarkable and constantly expanding learning experience lasted four years while she and her husband were Ayn Rand's lawyers.
Given this once-in-a lifetime opportunity to explore issues of craft and fiction-writing technique, Holzer made the most of her one-on-one literary discussions with Rand. In the process, she virtually learned to write at Ayn Rand's knee.
Now you can relive that experience in this book. But it's more than "how-to" guide for would-be fiction writers.
Chris Sciabarra, co-editor of the Journal of Ayn Rand
Studies and author of Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical says:
"Damn you, Erika, for taking me away from my work and compelling me, like a man possessed, to read your book from cover to cover. It's humane, dramatic, humorous, touching, terrific on every level.
"You've written a literary autobiography that is as much a superb guide for fiction writers as it is a touching tribute to your fiction-writing mentor, Ayn Rand. You illustrate -- through a tour de force exploration of your own evolving craft -- the many important factors at work in the creative process....
"This brilliant memoir offers a significant contribution to Rand studies, intellectual history, and literary theory."
As this book makes clear, Holzer learned from a master, the experience at times exhilarating, at times painful or embarrassing, more often than not, sheer fun.
In the book you'll learn of Rand's explanation for what appears to be "writer's block" -- and how to overcome it.
You'll come to understand why Holzer and Rand never tired of casting the heroes and villains in "Atlas Shrugged".
You'll be there the night Holzer dissected a badly constructed Hitchcock Iron Curtain thriller. Inspired by Rand's mantra of "plot, plot and plot," she vows on the spot to write a plot-driven novel featuring heroic men and women -- the kind of people you could root for. The result is Holzer's human rights espionage drama, "Double Crossing."
You can read the two short stories in this book which were sparked by very different ideas. The first, a Mafia-flavored drama, reflects Holzer's love of justice and respect for principled people willing to take risks and make hard choices. In the second story -- based partly on family history, partly on a wildly romantic notion of pure imagination -- the narrator grows from an insecure young woman to someone about to take wing.
This book was designed by Junto moderator Iris Bell.
can read its table of contents, a sample chapter, the covers
and reviews at www.erikaholzer.com.