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I wasn't that into crime novels at all, but a friend introduced me to the work of Jim Thompson - I loved all his books.
I don't see novels ending with any real sense of closure.
Many people have compared me to the Victorian adventure writer, Rider Haggard. I accept that as a compliment. As a boy growing up in Central Africa I read all Haggard's African novels.
I'd say that the question whether love still exists plays the same role in my novels as the question of God's existence in Dostoevsky.
I'm just trying to tell a good story and make thought-provoking, entertaining films. I just try and draw upon the great culture we have as a people, from music, novels, the streets.
When you're writing a novel, you spend four years sitting in your basement and a year waiting for the book to come out and then you get the feedback. When you do work online, the moment you're finished making it, people start responding to it which is really fun and allows for a kind of community development you just can't have in novels.
Some say it is the elements of hope and wonder in children's books that make them special. But there are many dark young adult novels these days. Adults loved Harry Potter, though it was written for the young. In the end, it is probably up to the reader of any age to decide if this book is for him or her.
I was pretty dead set against ever writing an academic novel. It's always been my view that there are already more than enough academic novels and that most of them aren't any good. Most of them are self-conscious and bitter, the work of people who want to settle grudges.
In Ireland, novels and plays still have a strange force. The writing of fiction and the creation of theatrical images can affect life there more powerfully and stealthily than speeches, or even legislation. Imagined worlds can lodge deeply in the private sphere, dislodging much else, especially when the public sphere is fragile.
Early gay novels such as 'Giovanni's Room' and 'The City and the Pillar' were not nearly as important to me as Isherwood's 'A Single Man.' I mean, 'Giovanni's Room' is a very beautiful book, but in terms of gay politics, if you care about that, it's not a very evolved book, because the idea behind it is, the only desirable men are straight men.
Certainly I'm still mining my experiences as a journalist. I think it's no coincidence that all three of my novels basically are about how people act in a time of catastrophe. Do they go to their best self or their worst self?
Back in my 20s, when I wrote 'A Place of Greater Safety,' the French Revolution novel, I thought, 'I'll always have to write historical novels because I can't do plots.' But in the six years of writing that novel, I actually learned to write, to invent things.
The truly great books are always novels: 'Anna Karenina,' 'The Brothers Karamazov,' 'The Magic Mountain.' Just as with 'Shahnameh,' I browse these books from time to time to remember how a great book works on us or to teach my students at Columbia University.
My dad was always such a frustrated artist. He always worked very hard to support his family, doing a bunch of ridiculous jobs. He wanted to be a painter, but then he also wrote science-fiction novels in his spare time.
The readership of Victorian novels, when they were published, was much less diverse. People were probably white, and had enough money to be literate. Very often, there are phrases in Italian, German and French that are left untranslated.
I grew up in a community where it was not the exception to be a good girl. It was sort of expected. And all of my friends were good girls too, and my boyfriends were good boys. Everybody was pretty nice. And that affects how I write my characters. There aren't very many bad guys in my novels.
I was incredibly determined - I wrote short stories, I wrote the beginnings of novels. I wrote a little children's book and sent it to the editor-in-chief of the children's division of Simon and Schuster and she asked me to write a little children's book for a series she was doing.
But then in novels the most indifferent hero comes out right at last. Some god comes out of a theatrical cloud and leaves the poor devil ten thousand-a-year and a title.
With the crime novels, it's delightful to have protagonists I can revisit in book after book. It's like having a fictitious family.
It can be dismaying, all the same, for a novelist to compare the slowness of the writing with the speed of the reading. Novels are read in a matter of days, even hours. A writer may labor for weeks over a particular passage that will have its effect on a reader for an instant - and that effect may be subliminal or barely noticed.
I feel just fine about ignoring or bypassing the rights of people I have known and loved to be rendered faithfully, or to be left in peace, and out of novels.
I'm a geek - I read fantasy novels, I play 'World of Warcraft,' I'm a massive gamer, I have 'Star Trek' outfits.
I think of novels in architectural terms. You have to enter at the gate, and this gate must be constructed in such a way that the reader has immediate confidence in the strength of the building.
I would be pleased if someone would invent a pill to remove my impatience, moodiness, and occasional bursts of anger. But if they did, I wouldn't be able to write my novels or paint.
In a culture defined by shades of gray, I think the absolute black and white choices in dark young adult novels are incredibly satisfying for readers.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
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