D.T. Max almost approached David Foster Wallace at a book release party, but ended up getting cold feet. It was only after writing an entire book about the famed recluse that Max could be sure he made the right choice in holding back. Two things became abundantly clear during his research: DFW didn't exactly relish interaction with strangers, and other writers made him feel competitive and defensive.
The notoriously private author was even closed off from friends and family. That's why Every Love Story is a Ghost Story (Penguin) became a collaborative endeavor between Max and those who also yearned to understand the literary icon in the wake of his 2008 suicide. People wanted to share what they knew about David's inner life beyond the hints they garnered from an oeuvre of incredibly personal novels, short stories and essays.