Josh Henkin Answers our questions

Thank you Josh for answering our questions!

Many of us are preparing for our discussion that starts this Wednesday, I will post questions to the MMBC page and will link to the post here.

Julian is very well written and a believable character, I am interested to know if there is crossover from the author to Julian, or if Julian is based on a few people in his life.

Thanks for the question—for all the questions that follow. They’re great, and I’m looking forward to answering them. And thanks more generally for participating in the Manic Mommies discussion of MATRIMONY. I’m delighted to be a part of it.

People tend to assume that if I’m anyone in MATRIMONY I must be Julian. I’m a writer, and he’s a writer; I grew up in New York, and he grew up in New York; my name begins with a “J,” and so does his. But if anything, I’m probably more similar to Mia than to Julian. I’m Jewish and she’s Jewish, and we’re both the children of professors. In terms of the worlds they come from, Mia’s world is much more familiar to me than Julian’s is. It’s true that MATRIMONY is in part about the writing life, and since I’m a writer, in some vague way some of that material is borrowed from my own like. And I do think almost any writer will tell you that writing is often terrifying. No matter how much success you’ve had, the fraud police is always hovering over you, and you don’t know whether you’ll be able to do it again. The page is just as blank every time you sit down. All that said, Julian’s struggles are often quite different from my own. Both his book and mine took many years to write ( I worked on MATRIMONY for ten years and threw out more than three thousand pages), but there are some key differences. Julian had long periods of writer’s block. I never had writer’s block; I just wrote a lot of really bad pages that I had the good sense to throw out.

In the more general sense, MATRIMONY is not autobiographical in any obvious way. The only character based on a real character is the dog, who’s a dead ringer for my wife’s and my dog (except that our dog is a golden retriever and female and Cooper is a Labrador retriever and male). All the other mammals in the book are invented. I didn’t meet my wife in college, her mother didn’t die of breast cancer, she didn’t cheat on me with my best friend (of if she did, she hasn’t told me yet!), and, alas, I’m not nearly as wealthy as Julian is.
Click here to read the full MMBC Author Q&A