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Continued: Author Michael D'Antonio discusses "Mortal Sins,’ his book about clergy and sex abuse

  • Article by: SPIKE CARLSEN , Special to the Star Tribune
  • Last update: May 5, 2013 - 7:43 AM

Q: Your book contains 26 pages of endnotes, a 50-book bibliography and scores of interviews. How do you mold such a vast amount of material into a book?

A: I start by casting a very wide net, hauling up everything inside, then examining it all. Then I throw out the shorties. You can start seeing what’s important as you sort. I often plot out a book in scenes; it’s something writers have inherited from filmmakers in our visual age. A movie starts playing in my head, and I start seeing people as characters that have certain experiences, they exit, the plot may change, and then they may pop up in a different scene.

 

Q: How did writing this book and hearing survivors’ stories affect you personally?

A: I had nightmares about this, literally. My wife is a therapist and I jokingly tell people I’m in residential treatment. But I interviewed many survivors of abuse and discovered when we tell stories and talk to each other and listen there’s a healing process that takes place — and it works in both directions.

 

Q: Finally, if you and I were to walk over to the tattoo parlor right now, what would you have inked on your forearm?

A: There are so many things in life to learn and do, and so many great causes to work toward, I think it would say “Don’t Hesitate.”

 

Spike Carlsen is a Stillwater-based writer.

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