Marti Leimbach heads to Vietnam in latest novel

Tue Mar 2, 2010 9:58pm EST
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By Belinda Goldsmith

SYDNEY (Reuters Life!) - When American writer Marti Leimbach's fascination with female reporters taken captive during the Vietnam War became obsessive, she knew she had her next book in the making.

Her sixth novel "The Man From Saigon," released this month, can be seen as a breakaway from her previous novels which have tended to focus on family dramas although Leimbach says the theme remains constant -- loss.

Her career as a writer began in 1990 with the publication of "Dying Young" which was made into a Hollywood movie starring Julia Roberts. She took a break from writing for several years after finding out her son was autistic but returned to the art with her 2006 semi-autobiographical novel "Daniel Isn't Talking."

Leimbach, 46, who has lived in England for about 20 years and teaches creative writing at Oxford University, spoke to Reuters:

Q: Your latest novel seems a breakaway from your other books.

A: "I wanted to write something that was not about me and did not reflect my life experience. I've always felt my books reflect myself and how I felt internally at that time although I've never lived with a man and had an affair with another (as in one of her books). But something about loss has run though all of my books."

Q: How is "The Man from Saigon" different?

A: "It is not such a departure. I am not writing about the Vietnam War but about people who are experiencing something in the context of 1967 in Vietnam. The characters are still living their own individual, private lives and that's no different for someone living in a household or a combat zone."   Continued...