Increasingly, I have come to dislike both the limits of genre and the invisibility of process. With The Ghost Orchard, I wanted to push at both of these boundaries by mixing non-fiction, memoir, and fiction, and by showing the research for the book as part of the book itself. I was using mostly original research and bringing to light aspects of the history of the apple in North America that have not been talked about, or perhaps even known before, so it made sense to show my process of discovery as it was actually happening.
All books, whether novels or non-fiction, are shaped by the events that are occurring in the life of the author at the time of writing, and I wanted to talk about that as well. I saw no reason to hide the fact that a close friend of mine was dying at the time I decided to write a book about the hidden history of apples, and that one thing influenced the other. As writers, we are not separate from what we are writing, and as I get older, I feel that it is important to recognize this, and to create from a place that understands, and integrates, all of who I am.