Anne Tyler Reveals All

April 20th, 2006 · No Comments
by Booksquare

You know how it goes — you’re waiting for something to process, so you say, quite logically, “I think I’m going to check out the Anne Tyler interview at Failbetter.” Possibly you decide to do this in a public place. Be warned: those snort-like chuckles? They can be heard by the people around you.

Naturally, we do not speak from personal experience. Our snort-like chuckles are of the most delicate variety.

Tyler isn’t one for major publicity pushes. We imagine that if we saw her on the Today show, it would be by accident. Either hers or ours, doesn’t matter. It’s sort of a shame because, like her great books, this is an interview that we’d be happy to read for days. The kind of interview that makes pulling a single, representative quote almost impossible.

Since impossible is what we do…

One day, around chapter 2 or 3, I’ll be slogging through some dialogue and all of a sudden a character says something that makes me laugh. Where did that come from? I’m not funny! Then another will flatly refuse the plot contrivance I’ve designed for him. I’ll write a scene this way, write a scene that way; it slows to a crawl and stops. Finally, I say, “Oh, all right,” and I drop the contrivance and the scene falls into place and I see a motive I’d never guessed and I understand where we’re going. It’s as if someone else is telling me the story. I don’t want to say I hear voices; well, actually I do hear voices, but I don’t think it’s supernatural. I think it’s just that when characters are given enough texture and backbone, then lo and behold, they stand on their own.

[tags]Anne Tyler, Failbetter, author interviews[/tags]

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