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The seed for my novel 'Half Brother' was planted in my mind over twenty years ago, but didn't germinate until late 2007 when I came across the obituary for Washoe, an extraordinary chimpanzee who had learned over 250 words of American Sign Language.
I think Melbourne is by far and away the most interesting place in Australia, and I thought if I ever wrote a novel or crime novel of any kind, I had to set it here.
Even the crudest, most derivative novel is an expression of the author's hopes and fears and ideas about good and evil.
My father had always identified himself as a writer to my mother when they met. When they met, he was writing this great novel, there was no doubt about it. Part of why she left him was this delusion of greatness and identifying it very directly with being an artist.
Perhaps, more importantly, I think that most human beings realise only a fraction of the true potential of their minds, so the spiritual or mystical, the things which remain mysterious or unexplained have always drawn me to include them in any scheme for a novel.
A great novel is concerned primarily with the interior lives of its characters as they respond to the inconvenient narratives that fate imposes on them. Movie adaptations of these monumental fictions often fail because they become mere exercises in interior decoration.
Rather than a teaching tool, I think a novel is more of a witnessing entity. A witnessing entity? What is that? I just want the reader to step in and experience it as a story.
Seven years into writing a novel, I started to lose my mind. My thirty-seventh birthday had just come and gone, the end of 2008 was approaching, and I was constantly aware of how little I had managed to accomplish.
I tried once in my life to write a novel. I had written something like 80 pages of it when my laptop got stolen. When I told people this, they acted as if something tragic had happened, but I kind of felt relieved, grateful to the thief who saved me from another year of something that felt more like homework than fun.
In the second grade, I would just get bored and a joke would pop into my head and I would have to say it. It was almost like I had some brilliant novel in my head that I had to get down, and I would interrupt class all the time and get in trouble.
I developed a mania for Fitzgerald - by the time I'd graduated from high school I'd read everything he'd written. I started with 'The Great Gatsby' and moved on to 'Tender Is the Night,' which just swept me away. Then I read 'This Side of Paradise,' his novel about Princeton - I literally slept with that book under my pillow for two years.
A. Scott Berg
I try to write about a woman finding her self-respect, valuing herself, and liking herself again. But what one desperately wants now is to write a proper novel.
I liked teaching Henry James. When you look down at a Henry James novel from a helicopter height, you find an intricate spider web that all clings together.
Although by 1851 tales of adventure had begun to seem antiquated, they had rendered a large service to the course of literature: they had removed the stigma, for the most part, from the word novel.
Carl Clinton Van Doren
A novel is like a gland pill - it nips off the cream of my hysterics and gets them running on track in a book where they belong instead of rioting all over my person.
When I'm writing a novel, which is what I like to write, I get up early, sit zazen, make a pot of green tea. I wear wrist cuffs to keep my wrists warm and minimize irritation from extended contact with the surface of my desk. I sit down and write.
My view of an excellent novel was probably set in the golden age of fiction in the 19th century: narrative, character and voice are of equal importance.
A journalist also needs to be disciplined, and so do I. I am, essentially, lazy. Without discipline I'd be just a mass of gummy bears on the sofa instead of on book tour with my eighth novel.
Working on an adaptation is not as satisfying, because it's not your original work: you're interpreting. With 'L.A. Confidential,' I loved the book. In that case, I felt I was guardian of the work, staying as true to the novel as I could. I've since met the novelist, and he loves the movie and the script.
'One Hundred Years of Solitude' convinced me to drop out of Harvard graduate school. The novel reminded me of everything my Ph.D. program was trying to make me forget. Thank you, Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
I was in a peacetime army. It was like something out of a Le Carre novel: studying the habits of your enemy. It was very exciting. It's interesting living life as a civilian, then on Friday night you're parachuting into a foreign country.
I had a strong propensity, which I still have, to be invisible. In grade school, I'd try to disappear and become formless. I lived in a very imaginary world. I loved poetry and wrote my first novel when I was 9. It was about a little girl and the people she met in the woods.
Madly, futilely, I wrote novel after novel, eight in all, that failed to find a publisher. I persisted because for me the novel was the supreme literary form - not just one among many, not a relic of the past, but the way we communicate to one another the subtlest truths about this business of living.
I use the setting of a small rural Norwegian community - the kind of place that I know so intimately. I could never write a novel set in a big city, because, frankly, I don't know what it would be like.
I think 'Gatsby' is hobbled, in part, by its status as a Great American Novel. People kind of roll their eyes before they've even opened it, treat it with a 'been there, done that' attitude. I know I did. It took me years to re-open the novel and see how much I'd missed.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
John F. Kennedy
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