'...you never do know the actual nature even of your own experience. Or perhaps it has no fixed and certain nature.' Marilynne Robinson, Gilead.
It takes so little, so infinitely little for a person to cross the border beyond which everything loses meaning: love, convictions, faith,history. Human life—and herein lies its secret—takes place in the immediate proximity of that border, even in direct contact with it; it is not miles away, but a fraction of an inch. Milan Kundera, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting.
To be a good writer, a confident writer, especially a Fantasist, you do not necessarily need to assemble the mere facts and then allow them to dictate the shape and colour
of your work, you must instead do what the dictionary indicates and master the art of lying. And to do that, it is not information you require, but vocabulary.'
Crace goes on to say that to write Quarantine, he only spent a couple of nights in the Judaean desert and that was enough to give him the confidence to make it up. He said he had a Bedouin tour guide who taught him the phrase ‘to sleep like a dead donkey’. As Crace said, to get the authenticity, you need to learn the trick of words.