Abigail DeWitt does her homework, unlike Molly Moore, the “bad girl” heroine of her new novel Dogs. Before writing about a wild child who finds a violent secret about her father, DeWitt researched crimes of passion. She visited North Carolina’s Central Prison to interview a man on death row. She told The Pilot that he was surprisingly kind and it was, “easy to imagine someone loving him despite the awful crime he had committed.”
Complicated characters with intricate and often contradictory lives fill her book with nuanced layers. The story focuses on a father-daughter bond that grows over time and becomes threatened by a brutal crime. Rather than vilifying her father, Molly continues to love him in spite of his unsettling past. DeWitt’s understanding of unconditional love comes from her dedication to her own father, who passed away while she was writing this book. “Molly’s father is nothing like mine, but the way she adores him grew out of my love for my father. What if my father had been a very different kind of person? What if he’d killed someone?” DeWitt rhetorically asked The Pilot.
Dogs (which is not about dogs, but rather absolute loyalty) received critical success. Ron Rash, author of Serena, wrote, “…her story is a compelling one in this beautifully written novel of secrets and desires.” Kirkus described DeWitt’s prose as “nuanced” and her characters “finely shaded.”
DeWitt is a North Carolina native and attended the Arthur Morgan School in Burnsville. She went on to graduate Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard with a bachelor’s degree in English and received a master’s of fine arts degree from the Iowa’s Writers Workshop. She currently lives in Western North Carolina with her husband and daughter.