Asked by a reader: was I a teenage runaway?

Alle C. Hall
2 min readMay 5
Photo by Yuris Alhumaydy on Unsplash

Q: I’m reading As Far As You Can Go Before You Have to Come Back now, and I was wondering if you are the protagonist in the story? Are you Jen, Mary, and Carlie? Were you a teenage runaway? It is a curious question where a novel meets a memoir,

I would say that the emotional awarenesses are mine but that the plot is a deliberately crafted thing. It’s like: there are the given circumstances of the story, that I made up. I have my experiences, the experiences I’ve heard or overheard other’s share , and my ability to make more stuff up. I put the character into that hopper and see what comes out. But I will not be shy about saying that I am an incest survivor. Also, I lived in Japan, traveled a lot in Asia, and I have a tai chi practice of 35 years’ running.

Q: This assessment is extremely helpful. I am currently trying to evaluate the story arc of my own life’s traumas. Sounds like your personal experiences has provided you access to walk in the shoes of this character within the framework of your own past.

That is a very good way of putting it — with the addition of the idea that I am not stressed out by striving for any accuracy required by telling my own story.

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Alle C. Hall

PNW Booksellers Book Award nominee: As Far as You Can Go Before You Have to Come Back: 1st Place: International FireBird Book Awards: Literary & Coming of Age