Since returning to writing after a dreadful stint as a Wall Street banker, Lindsay Hatton realizes she is an analytical person. Not so much in the sense that she’s good with numbers, but more so that she’s organized and has a brain that works similarly to John Nash in A Beautiful Mind.
“Something that propels my writing forward, but also sometimes hinders me, is the analytical process I do in my own head of making connections that excite me but may not excite the reader at all,” Hatton says. “In the movie … when he has all the things up on the wall and he’s connecting it all with yarn, that’s kind of what my head looks like when I’m writing something.”
Hatton’s husband had one condition of them marrying at the time he proposed to her.
“He says, ‘I’m not gonna marry you unless you do what you wanna do,’” she explains. “So I said, ‘All right, I will marry you and start writing again.’”
Now, the author of Monterey Bay, a story that follows marine biologist Ed Ricketts—a central character from John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row—she finds sticky areas that exist within fiction itself.
“It’s the simultaneous escape and the parallel kind of immersion in reality through imagination. Which is just kind of a complicated way of saying, ‘I like to work things out on the page with characters who are not me.’”
Hatton finds that writing fiction indulges a freedom or “blurring of the lines” which she finds very cathartic. However, there is a limit to the blurring of lines, as she’s found throughout her career.
“My first novel dealt in certain aspects of historical fiction, but other aspects of speculative fictions kind of blurred the lines in a way that made perfect sense for me, but didn’t make sense for a lot of readers,” she says.
Hatton has used aspects of history in her work in order to challenge herself as a writer. She finds this helps her better understand the invisible lines that exist in each genre.
“I sometimes put real historical figures in my fiction and I find that the line moves there pretty dramatically according to how well-known that person actually is,” she says.
In her upcoming novel, Hatton has been careful to leave out real-life characters in hopes of heightening her imagination.
Another strange limit she’s found while working on her new fiction novel is the amount of research she undertook.
“It’s almost like being on a weird diet—not too much, not too little. There’s a process where you don’t want to binge and you don’t want to restrict,” Hatton says. “I’m still trying to figure that out for myself.”
Her story in the advent calendar, The Friend, echoes these themes as she skillfully crafts a blurred line between what’s real and what’s not, in this tale of curious friendship and human limitations.