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Pat Barker Quotes
Fiction should be about moral dilemmas that are so bloody difficult that the author doesn't know the answer.
That balance between involvement and detachment is what novelists do. It's the ideal relationship between a novelist and a character, I think, total involvement and identity and empathy, stopping short of being autobiographical - in my case, anyway - but also quite detached.
I wanted to be a novelist from a very early age - 11 or 12 - but I don't think I ever thought I would write historical fiction. I never thought I might write academic history because I simply wasn't good enough!
When writing about historical characters I try to be as accurate as possible, and in particular not to misrepresent the view they held. With a real historical figure you have to be fair, and this is not an obligation you have in dealing with your own creations, so it is quite different.
What I hate in fiction is when the author knows better than the characters what they should do.
I didn't belong to the sort of family where the children's classics were laid on. I went to the public library and read everything I could get my hands on.
I wasn't thinking of a sequel when I finished 'Life Class.' What changed my mind was the perception that the characters had a lot of life left in them, a lot of unresolved conflicts, and also I became interested in the Tonks pastel portraits of facially disfigured soldiers and in the whole area of facial reconstruction.
Culturally, the First World War is the war that stands in for other wars.
My grandmother's first husband was a spiritualist medium. What fascinates me about that is the balance between conviction and sincerity and trickery, which is also something that novelists are very familiar with.
Being a writer is a poverty trap. I mean, it's a terrible profession.
'Undertones of War' by Edmund Blunden seems to get less attention than the memoirs of Siegfried Sassoon and Robert Graves, but it is a great book.
When I'm writing the first draft, I'm writing in a very slovenly way: anything to get the outline of the story on paper.
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Gilbert K. Chesterton
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