It was the Moses connection that clinched it for me; this story was too good, and had too much in it, to leave alone: I had to write it. But because I am a novelist and not a journalist, I made several important changes along the way. I turned the man of the real story into Miranda Berenzweig, a single Jewish woman who has not thought of having a child but whose biological clock is nonetheless ticking loudly. I changed the baby boy to a girl. And unlike the real story, in which no one came forth to claim the child, I introduced the birth father, an up-and-coming black real estate broker who did not know he had a daughter. Once his paternity is proven, he steps up to claim her. This plot turn raised issues about what makes a good or fit parent and once again, I found myself in Biblical territory, this time that of Solomon who must adjudicate between two women who come to him with an infant each swears is her own. Both of my characters have a claim to the baby as well but which claim should prevail? That was what I attempted to work out on the page.
Novels can come from surprising sources and lead to equally surprising destinations. I did not know that my reconfiguring a contemporary news story would take me back to the ancient stories that are part of my heritage, and that those stories in turn would offer a surprisingly modern lens through which to view the world.