I have begun to dable in author interviews and so I am fascinated by them. If the interview makes you want to read the book and dig into the author more, that is a good sign of success. The Atlantic Unbound has just such an interview, with Peter Carey author of My Life as a Fake. I was particularly intrigued by the discussion surrounding Carey’s decision to change the first person perspective of the novel, from one character to another. Here is the author on what it was like to make such a drastic change:
Q: What made you decide to make that change? What goes through a novelist’s mind when making such a drastic shift after dedicating a long period of time to a particular character’s way of seeing the world?
A: Panic. All writers have bad days. You have problems and you work your way through them. But with this book, no matter how I worked on it and tinkered with the sentences and worked on this and that, all I seemed to be doing was digging myself deeper into the ground. I knew I wasn’t going to fix it up by sandpapering it or refining it anymore. So at the end of one day I came to the conclusion that this could not work. As you can imagine, that’s a really bad feeling. I had a horrible night. The next day I woke up, and I decided there was a good idea here and there was a good story, and I asked myself if there was another way to do it. All that day I worked very energetically. By the end of that day, I had discovered a totally different way into the material. So it went from one day being probably the worst day of my writing life to the next day being one of the really thrilling ones. I knew I had a completely unexpected way to deal with it.
What a fascinating experience! This, and other sections of the interview, really reveal the complext combination or creativity, imagination, research, and technical expertise that goes into writing a novel. If you are interested in books this is well worth a read.