Wednesday, 17 September 2014

What He Said...Did I Really Say That?

Crime and the City...Solution
A friend brought this to my attention.  It is the transcript of a reading and Q&A I gave for the Dublin City Libraries Crime and the City series of lunchtime talks last year.  It's very wierd, reading a transcription of what you've said.  There is something of the deposition about it.  Something of the courtroom and something of that feeling you get when you hear yourself speaking on tape...

Listen to me.  On tape...  On video or iphone or ice-bucket challenge or whatever.

Despite how strange it is to read my own rather rambling verbiage word for word, I actually managed to say a lot that I really stand by, especially in the Q&A part where I talk about writing and editing and researching historical fiction.  It's here if you're interested.

Here's me on researching historical fiction.  Apparently I have a 'fraudulent gadfly's knowledge' of the Irish revolutionary period.  Hmmm...someone shut that guy up!:  

One of the pleasures of being a historical novelist, one of the pleasures and the banes, I suppose because a lot of the research is really fun to do and it’s really interesting and you wouldn’t write about if you weren’t interested in it in the first place. I’m doing a new novel which is not in this series, although I am going back to this series, I’ve found myself reading the diaries of this Pioneer woman – I’m literally falling asleep reading it and I was thinking why do I have to read this? But you do because the great thing about research is it takes the story in a different direction and quite often you think you have a story set and then you come across like the fact that there were female agents and the story goes in a completely different direction. I love that about research. I tend to research widely first and then go and research for things I need in the story specifically. It’s kind of daunting sometimes. I was on the radio with an historian recently and he had a vast, comprehensive knowledge of the subject and I have kind of a fraudulent gadfly’s, you know a magpie’s knowledge of it because fiction writers research to suit the story as much as anything. I could never write a scholarly treatise on the period. But the research suddenly it will throw something up from the dullest, most banal text and you suddenly think, I have to use that. That’s fascinating. Or what often happens too is your story will be going one direction and something you read will confirm it, you know, I wonder if they would have done that? and then suddenly you’ll just fortuitously stumble upon something – they did do that. Thank God!