Today’s visitor is fabulous Crooked Cat Author – Carol Maginn – who is going to share some interesting thoughts on the wonderful world of writing fiction
Welcome to London, Carol
Hello June! Thank you so much for inviting me onto your blog.
I’ve been thinking recently about how much of ourselves and our lives sneak into our fiction.
New Yorker storyteller David Sedaris (whose book, Dress Your Family in Denim and Corduroy, I bought for several friends) amiably shares tales of a family so startling that…. they may just be real. Many journalists, too, routinely utilise their real life experiences – I recall one who reported that none of her family would tell her anything anymore; they would begin, and then narrow their eyes and say ‘No, you’re just going to put it in your column. ’
It was only after I’d finished my first novel, Ruin, that I realised that all the characters – hyperactive mother Lorraine, materialistic and grasping Suzanne, troubled and lovelorn Max, pragmatic ten-year-old Joely, and sociopathic secretary Luke – were in fact me. All of them.
My second, Daniel Taylor, is a thriller set in Rome, and I wrote it whilst living there. The first eponymous Daniel – the hero – knows the city well and speaks effortless Italian, whereas the second Daniel is a hapless tourist who gets lost, misunderstands, and is almost permanently bewildered,…. well, you can guess which one was reflecting my reality….
Many of the Crooked Cat books I’ve read have insights which come from the lived experiences of their authors – Jane Bwye and Miriam Dori, for example, to name just two – and gain strength and authenticity from this.
But I suspect that more of us goes into our characters than we perhaps altogether intend – it may be that it couldn’t be otherwise. Lionel Shriver has said that she had no difficulty in writing the psychopathic Kevin, in We Need to Talk About Kevin because she felt herself developing empathy with him as she wrote. The angels and demons of our natures get the chance to flap their wings, harmlessly, on the page. (more…)