Abbott Kahler on Nature vs Nurture
In Conversation with Lindsay Hunter on I'm a Writer But
Welcome to I’m a Writer But, where writers discuss their work, their lives, their other work, the stuff that takes up any free time they have, all the stuff they’re not able to get to, and the ways in which any of us get anything done. Plus: book recommendations, bad jokes, okay jokes, despair, joy, and anything else going on that week. Hosted by Lindsay Hunter.
Today, Abbott Kahler (Where You End) discusses the true story that inspired her novel, how her writing process changed as she pivoted from nonfiction to fiction, outlining, the unique world of twins, working with her longtime group of readers, starting all over, and more!
From the episode:
Abbott Kahler: The pandemic hit, and I hadn’t been able to go to any archives for my nonfiction. I was like, crap, what am I going to do? I remembered the documentary [that the novel is inspired by], and I thought, you know what, I’m just going to go for it. I’m going to write this book. [This book is] a lot about nature vs. nurture. During the writing of this book, I found out that the man who raised me is not my biological father, and my real father was a sperm donor, so the question of nature vs. nurture really hit home for me.
Abbott Kahler, formerly writing as Karen Abbott, is the New York Times bestselling author of Sin in the Second City; American Rose; Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy; and The Ghosts of Eden Park, which was an Edgar Award finalist for best fact crime and a finalist for the Ohioana Book Award. Her next nonfiction book, Then Came the Devil, is forthcoming in 2025. She is also the host of Remus: The Mad Bootleg King, a forthcoming podcast from iHeartRadio about legendary Jazz Age bootlegger George Remus. A native of Philadelphia, she lives in New York City and in Greenport, New York, where she is at work on her next novel.