“For me, being a writer was never a choice. I was born one. All through my childhood I wrote short stories and stuffed them in drawers. I wrote on everything. I didn’t do my homework so I could write.” – Laura Hillenbrand
Hillenbrand – born in Fairfax, VA, on this date in 1967 – became the writer she felt destined to be, telling stories about two amazing sports figures from the 1930s; one the great horse Seabiscuit, the other the great 1930s Olympian Louis Zamperini.
The first story became the bestselling book and award-winning movie Seabiscuit. The second, one of the most gripping reads of the past decade and also a popular movie was Unbroken. These two books dominated bestseller lists in both hardback and paperback with combined sales (to date) of more than 13 million.
Hillenbrand, as she says above, was born to be a writer, and that meant writing through some of the most debilitating pain and isolation a person might ever experience. Confined to her home for 20 years because of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, she still pressed on to create these two remarkable works. She says being confined while writing helped her live her stories more completely in her mind, and (she believes) made them more interesting and exciting.
“While it's really hard to do, at the same time, I'm escaping my body, which I really want to do,” she said of her writing style. “I'm living someone else's life. I get very intensely into the story, into the interviews and the research. I'm experiencing things along with my subjects. I have a freedom I don't have in my physical life.”