NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — “Ashley Hall” weaves together the lives and secrets of strangers who all happen to live on the same floor of a Queens apartment building during the 1960s.

The novel’s author, Marie Murphy Duess, said the book came about during a marathon writing session.

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“I was sitting at the island in my kitchen one evening, about 10 o’clock in the evening, and started to play on my computer, on my laptop, and the next thing I knew at 6 o’clock the next morning, more than half the book had been written,” Duess told WCBS 880’s Pat Farnack.

“It wrote itself. It just kept coming out of me.”

Duess described “Ashley Hall” as a “character study” that explores the concept that “no man is an island.”

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“People live just a few feet away from each other, sometimes for decades, and very often never even learn each other’s names, let alone each other’s business,” Duess said. “And in those situations, that anonymity can be very lonely for some people, but for other people, it can be a refuge.

“But in truth, eventually their secrets are known or suspected because it’s tough living in such close proximity to one another and not overhear an argument or see something that raises eyebrows.”

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