Why choose the themes of secrets and sacrifice?
Oprah: This theme that runs constantly through Fall on Your Knees, this theme of secrets...and sacrifice, where did that come from? Did that start out as being your theme?
Ann-Marie: Yes, I love secrets. I'm obsessed with them. I like to create stories that can be completely explained at the everyday level. And it's almost like saying, 'Okay, those of you who would like to believe there's a miracle, go ahead. Those of you who need to have the forensic evidence, there it is.' I like it to work on those levels. But there is some sort of long and indelible cultural influence of my own Catholic upbringing which has, I think, forged my imagination.
Brenda: That's so prevalent through the whole book.
Anne-Marie: Who did it is a mystery. A secret is a powerful metaphor...the idea that something's buried, and no matter how many layers of concrete you put over it, it's going to come up. It's going to break the surface.
Was it a happy ending?
Ann-Marie: For me, a happy ending is when someone can walk out of the rubble and tell the story and say, 'Okay, I've got the secret. Here it is. I might be the only one left standing, but here it is.'
Oprah: Well, many times during the reading of Fall on Your Knees, I would say, 'How can that be happening now?' And then I'd say, 'It's a book. It's a book. It's a book.' I don't look for a happy ending. I look for whatever is realistic. Whatever is meaningful, whatever is going to take me to the next level with these characters. And for you [Ann-Marie], you think that it's about when there is peace?
Ann-Marie: And there's memory. When memory survives. When history survives. When one person says, 'Look, I think I know what happened. I'm going to tell it.' If there's someone who survives to tell the tale, that's redemptive.