Where The Author’s Relationship with His Characters Has Lasted Longer Than Many Marriages

March 9th, 2005 · No Comments
by Booksquare

The delightful thing about major authors with major releases is that they do the press rounds like crazy. After a while, it sort of feels like you’re reading the same story in a different font. It’s as if there are only so many column inches available for author profiles.

Which is why the Internet should set the author interview free, but, sadly, we don’t get our wishes fulfilled as often as we want. Oh sure, the whole story thing is great, but, if you’ve ever been to an author question-and-answer session, you know what the people want: the writing.

It’s a mystery, how words get on paper. Some days more so than others. Powells.com (the fine website of one of our favorite places in the world to get lost) has a deliciously long interview with Ian Rankin (who has been recommended to us many, many times, but, for some reason [we were the slow child] we kept forgetting his name; no longer.). Rankin discusses his work and his characters and his community and his music. Among other things. While there are many items of note in the interview, we’ll let you discover them for yourselves. Except the one little comment about series. Rankin gets right to the heart of one of the most irritating things series authors do:

I love Lawrence Block’s Matt Scudder novels. However, in some of the early Scudder novels for about two or three pages he’d talk about the reason why Scudder left the police: He’s accidentally shot the kid, he’d go into churches, he’d tithe, he’d light candles for her. And you’d get the same section in every book. And I thought, you know, I don’t need that. And then you wonder, does a new reader need that, or will they pick that up on the way almost subliminally? There must be a reason why the guy left the force, he must be guilty, and I think they’ll pick it up. So I don’t think I do try to write for people who are new to the series. I just hope that they are intelligent enough that they will pick up quite a lot about these characters.

We do feel compelled to mention that we totally read V for fun, so much so that we’ll be inflicting the joy on our bookclub in a few months. Now, Gravity’s Rainbow? That one, not so much.

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