I can’t imagine handing over this very personal confession to fiction. Novels have given me necessary veils—to hide from the audience and to hide from myself. And I’ve found that I’ve learned a lot about the inner workings of human beings and my own inner workings because I could rely on those veils. But this essay is specifically about the moment when the veil is stripped away, and the writer must ‘fess up to what they’ve done—for better or for worse. I also felt I owed my readers something. When you write a novel based on a true story as I did in The Madam, I think it’s only fair to acknowledge—in some way—what is the deepest truth embedded within the novel, and where you’ve taken the greatest license. This essay was an attempt to do just that, but it became much more intimate and urgent in the retelling.