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Navigating the Writer’s Life with Amor Towles

The characters Amor creates, from Count Alexander Rostov (living under grand-hotel-style house arrest in A Gentleman in Moscow ) to Emmet and Billy Watson (orphaned brothers in The Lincoln Highway ), are so vivid, so specific, and so downright enjoyable to spend time with that I would have sworn they were based on real people. Turns out, I was wrong. “All of my characters are invented; none of them in any of my books are based on individuals from life,” said Towles in our Zoom interview last week, before his appearance on February 2 as part of the UCSB Arts & Lectures series. “Having written fiction since I was a kid, the invention of people becomes one of the central aspects of craft that you try to master. Because to write story after story after story, book after book, you're populating them with a whole array of individuals who are representing the diversity of humanity. But for a work of fiction to succeed, the reader has to feel some vibrancy in those characters — that there's three-dimensionality to them.” The Lincoln Highway is Amor Towles's newest novel | Credit: Courtesy He published his first book, Rules of Civility, in 2011 after working in investments for 20 years and diligently in his off hours. That first novel, set in Manhattan in the late 1930s, was every writer's dream double-hitter out of the […] Author Amor Towles comes to UCSB Campbell Hall on Feb. 2 | Credit: Bill Hayes

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