Sunday, 20 March 2011
The Secret Life of Authors
Throughout the life of our Book Club, Rel has managed to organise many an email interview and the occasional telephone call to some of the authors of the books we have read. On Friday night we received answers to the questions we had emailed to Sarah Sundin, author of 'A Memory Between Us'. Sarah reiterated a long-standing observation we've had about authors. They have a secret life.
This secret life was revealed for the first time when we spoke with the very fine, gentlemanly Charles Martin. When asked how he developed his characters he said it was a bit like meeting them unexpectedly as you come around the corner in a supermarket. Odd....a little strange, even. Sarah, and many other authors, have told us that their characters do unexpected things. They say things the author didn't intend them to say. They do things the author had no idea they would do.
The very pragmatic ones in our book club, me included, find this just a little bit weird. Surely, we think, that the author is the one with the pen in hand, or the computer keyboard in their control. Surely the author decides what characters do and say. Yet, according to the authors we've had contact with, they seem to have little control of these surprising and fiesty imaginary people.
I've come to one conclusion over this. While I might find this phenomenom rather strange, it obviously takes a very special person to be an author. If this is the type of imagination authors have in order to produce their very fine works, who am I to shake my head? I am the recipient of much enjoyment thanks to the strange workings of these unusual minds.
So if you see someone in the supermarket chattering or muttering away to an imaginary person. Don't be alarmed. It's probably an author having a conversation with the character in their book, trying to convince them to do as they're told.