Sarah Waters and the joy of book-talks

Sarah Waters and Carole Beu
Sarah Waters and Carole Beu, Flickr 2015-09-07-IMG_9220

In an earlier post before I went to see author Sarah Waters speak as part of Shifting Points of View, I admitted that I'm often wrong about how I think her stories are going to play out - and I now know why Sarah’s novels always have such agonising twists!

She is even more intelligent than I expected.  Amazingly well read and educated. So she will always be one step ahead of me. Damn.

The whole book-talk thing was not what I expected, as there was a lot of dancing around what actually takes place in the novel, as some attendees haven’t read it yet. But I got a fascinating insight into how Sarah puts together her novels. She starts with around two months of research, although she said her latest book is taking a lot longer, perhaps up to four months.

Sarah Waters' books - UBS bookstand
Sarah Waters' books - UBS bookstand, Flickr, 2015-09-07-IMG_9212

The first half of the book was a “bit of a bugger to write” with a lot writing, rewriting and editing. But the second part was easier, as she enjoyed seeing her characters grow.  It was interesting hearing her speak of characters in her latest novel The Paying Guests, Lillian, Leonard, and Frances as though they are real people, just showing how much thought is put into each one.

My favourite quote from the night was when she described The Paying Guest as “a love story complicated by a crime”. That sums up the novel perfectly.

I definitely recommend attending an author talk if you get the chance. I am looking forward to my next one.

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