First up - Brian Moore. I am, in effect, self-exiled from my country of birth (where my heart is still) and it felt like high treason to depart from the British setting and sensibility, as if I had begun to abandon my heritage. So, it was comforting to read this by the Irish author-in-exile [my additions in brackets]:
"...my life in exile has forced me to become a literary chameleon. I sometimes wonder what would have happened to me had I not left Ireland, had I continued to write based on the world I was born into...I will never know what I may have lost by self-exile...[However, if] the story is fiction[, it] can never be true, but to succeed as art it must inspire belief. And so, for me, fiction is not the story of my life or the lives of people I have known. It is a struggle to write [stories] which will in some way reflect my own experience through the adventures of my characters, novels which permit me to re-examine beliefs I [still hold and perhaps] no longer hold and search for some meaning in life."
In writing more expansively than about my native Britain and my own (rather limited) life experience, I may find something more universal to say.
With regard to fraud, like many other new writers, I had taken the adage - write what you know - rather literally, I think. But writer Hilary Mantel's opinion on this subject changed all that: "I would say my first book shows the cramping futility of that neat little adjuration to 'write what you know'. I'd rather say, write to find out - write to see what you know. You may surprise yourself."
Britain and Britishness will remain a thematic thread throughout my work as I grow as a writer, I am certain of it. But, I am truly beginning to appreciate my separation from my roots because it has resulted in a burgeoning sense of artistic freedom. Having finished my American tale, I have already moved onto a new story, which represents another departure: a move away from my preference for realism (often gritty) into the realm of sci-fi. In my story Apogee, I will be attempting to move beyond Britain, beyond America and go to the Moon...
To publication and beyond!