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Not an author interview

Jackie Kessler writes paranormal romances. Which isn't particularly unusual, except her fictional protagonist, Jezebel (a Succubus from Hell) interviews other author's protagonists on her blog, from time to time. (It's the sort of thing folks in our line of work get up to, when staring at the walls doesn't work any more; that, and taping bacon to the cat.)

saturn's children - US cover

This week, it's Freya Nakamichi-47's turn to be interviewed. She sneaked out of "Saturn's Children" while I wasn't looking. (Sounds like I'd better watch my back for a while.)

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6 Comments

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1:

That interview was fun. I laughed out loud at the line about sexual positions, and had to explain to Carol what I was laughing at. And I liked the complaints about you. My friend Allison Lonsdale has a song she performs in local (San Diego) coffeehouses about wanting a different author for her life who will treat her better, though her complaints are more about Bad Love Life and less about murderous enemies. . . .

2:

I'm in the middle of Saturn's Children, right now, and I'm loving it. Lots of power chords being played in this one!

Thanks for another great read.

3:

Iterated LOL.

I especially liked your/her answers to:

Is there anything you be caught dead in?

Which is better: sex or chocolate?

So what’s the worst part of the story for you?

What’s the best thing that happens to you in the book?

Okay then... let’s talk about sex.

If you had your way, what would you change about SATURN’S CHILDREN?

If you could make Charlie do anything, what would it be?

I hope that other authors ask themselves these questions in advance, before getting to deeply into their novels.

4:

Hah! One fictional character interviewing another!? What a strange bloody idea. It really worked though; that interview made me laugh a lot. Now definitely feeling the compulsion to go and buy Saturn's Children asap.

#3 - I don't really think in terms of my characters having a dialogue with me, rather of them being an expression of some select part of my personality. So, in that sense they are me, just in a terrible situation, possessed by terrible insecurity and simultanious vanity or whatever is called for.

I have a question (for Charlie) - do you ever find yourself researching things in order that your characters will be more knowledgeable? I had to spend all weekend researching BSL facility classifications and cognitive neuroscience, and I was wondering, have you ever have to do a period of research for your writing? Or do you just draw on stuff you already know?

5:

do you ever find yourself researching things in order that your characters will be more knowledgeable?

Yes. (But I'm lazy. And it's easy to write what you know, so when in doubt, I write lazy characters :)

Actually, I generally try to soak stuff up as I go along and then use what I know in some new and different way. And google has made a lot of research legwork a whole lot easier, and having a blog (and the other invite-only blog) makes it easy to ask highly specialized questions to folks who work in the relevant fields.

(On the other hand? BSL-3 is just a biohazard variation on the class 1 aseptic pharmaceutical manufacturing suites I trained in. The furniture will have changed in 20 years, and there'll be microbiology kit instead of manufacturing kit inside -- but I did microbiology lab work too -- but I'll bet the smell's the same, and the white noise background, and the changing facilities, and, and ...)

6:

"We have to read musically, testing the precision and rhythm of a sentence, listening for the almost inaudible rustle of historical association clinging to the hems of modern words, attending to patterns, repetitions, echoes, deciding why one metaphor is successful and another is not, judging how the perfect placement of the right verb or adjective seals a sentence with mathematical finality.'

[How Fiction Works, James Wood, Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2008, 288 pp.]

Such Lovely Lies, Gideon Lewis-Kraus reviews “How Fiction Works? by James Wood, Los Angels Times Book Review, Sunday 20 July 2008.

“Wood’s new book, ‘How Fiction Works,’ is his most sustained attempt to describe, in 123 numbered sections, how this instruction proceeds. His initial focus is on ‘free indirect style,’ whereby the narrator moves the story along through a character’s voice such that ‘we see things through the character’s eyes and language but also through the author’s eyes and language. We inhabit omniscience and partiality at once.’ This is the essence of fiction-making: We readers know that an author has invented this character, but we also feel as though the character exists somewhere outside and beyond the author’s invention. We are divided between what we know to be fake and what we nevertheless momentarily postulate as real. Good characters promise us that their invented freedom has meaning, and we react to them accordingly. (Wood, in this way, pretends to write about books while writing about life.)?

“When we reach a word that ‘belongs’ not to the character but to the narrator, ‘we are reminded that an author allowed us to merge with his character, that the author’s magniloquent style is the envelope within which this generous contract is carried.’ This contract’s chief clause is that a novel is something you can at any moment put down. It is thus obliged to offer generous terms. As the burden of the novelist is to give her readers reason to keep reading, the burden of the untethered critic (as opposed to the academic one, whose authority is institutionally granted) is to offer enough gratuitous pleasure and intelligence that he is taken seriously....?