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Simon Sobo Writing

A collection of opinion pieces and chapters from his novels

What was the most challenging aspect of writing COMMODORE?


His life, as it actually was, is fascinating, but I was writing a novel.  A fine accurate biography  of Vanderbilt had recently been written by A. J. Stiles,   who won both the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award  for  The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt. 

However, a biography is not a novel.  I felt it my duty to know the facts until I learned from other biographies that much is not known.  A lot is assumed.  He was born in 1793,   a very long time ago.  That gave me literary license to pick and choose, and I should add, imagine much of it.  99% of the events depicted in Commodore in fact happened, but liberties must be taken to imagine the conversations and motivations of the actual characters.

I would like to think that my depiction of events in Commodore is how they  played out.  But, of course, that is untrue.  It all happened too long ago.   So, in a way, that offered me an opportunity.  I could write the novel as a normal novel, a fiction.  The events merely had to be a skeleton for the story.  I could do what I wanted, namely, make Commodore a great character in a novel springing from my imagination.

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