Rachael Herron author of Lucy’s Kiss out April 1st explains why she is a confessor.

I’m a compulsive confessor. 

Which isn’t to say I don’t want to keep secrets. I do. I plan to keep secrets all the time. It would be a lot easier not to tell my sister that I sideswiped a fire hydrant while driving her car. I just plan on not telling. And sure enough, as soon as she walks in the door, I go red in the face and say, “I dented your car—I  wasn’t going to tell you but now I am,” as fast as I can string the words together. 

It’s as if as soon as I have the thought, “don’t tell,” I get this wild compulsion to tell right now. I tell too much, more than anyone wants to hear. If I’m late, I don’t say gracefully, “Sorry, traffic.” I say, “Oh, my God, I’m sorry, I completely forgot today was the day, and I didn’t remember until I got the Google reminder, and by then I’d walked the dogs and had to take a shower, and then I broke a glass and had to sweep it up, and then I couldn’t find your address, but BOY, am I sorry.” 

I think that’s what makes me a writer. None of us are really that interesting, in the long run. We all go to the grocery store and pick up dinner fixings and wash our laundry and sit in front of the computer. Generally, there’s not too much confessing going on there. But in fiction, writing as my characters, I get to screw up all the time, and then confess it. I get to dive deep, right into the heart of the matter, dive right into why my character did what she did, and figure out why. 

In my new book, Lucy’s Kiss, Owen Bancroft messes up big time, so big that he ends up losing not only his best friend but his job. He’s injured emotionally as well as physically, and the limp that he has is a reminder of how he struggles inside. And the power that Lucy has over him is that she still sees him as she always did, a whole man, not judged by his bad decisions but by the good person she knows him to be. (And then she gets to cover up how she feels, the better to confess later. See how fun it can be?) 

Confession is just fun. Even online, there have been times I’ve confessed to things perhaps I shouldn’t have. I just did a Google search on my blog Yarnagogo + Confession, and I got a whole list of ’em. And thanks to the miracle of the internet, I’ve now remembered: a truly awkward kiss; the time I tried to take a photo of myself in the elevator at HarperCollins and dropped it instead, breaking into pieces that I picked up just before the door glided open to reveal my editor’s lovely assistant; the fact that I love America’s Next Top Model (don’t judge); the revelation of my crush on Chris Baty of NaNoWriMo fame; my unabated lust for Anthony Bourdain. 

I’m not sure if any of this needs to be made public. But I do it anyway, because a compulsive confessor loves nothing more than an even higher box from which to yell her confessions. Everyone understands and empathizes with shame—I would argue that emotionally, love and hate are the only two emotions as important as shame in making people act the way they do. So it’s interesting to write fiction, peering into the nooks of life, blowing dust off things that make me blush and will therefore make for good material. 

All of this I confess. And I’ll confess something else later, probably. 

Rachael Herron received her MFA in writing from Mills College, and has been knitting since she was five years old. She lives with her better half in Oakland, California, where they have four cats, three dogs, three spinning wheels, and more instruments than they can count. She can be found at Yarnagogo.com. Her books are published in Australia by Random House.


Rachael Herron