Så våra måndagsmöten har tagit ett uppehåll på obestämd framtid, men att träffa författaren till en av årets bästa böckervill jag ändå göra. Carol Rifka Brunt har skrivit ”Låt vargarna komma” som Johanna Lindbäck skrev om redan i augusti 2012, men jag läste den i våras (på engelska – då heter den ”Tell the wolves I’m home).
Hon berättar om morbror Finn (från boken), om sina favoritförfattare, lite om hur hon skriver och ger ett julklappstips i slutet. Särskilt anmärkningsvärt är hur få böcker hon läser ut!
How did you get the idea of writing ”Tell the wolves I’m home”?
I was working on a few short stories and, out of the blue, the idea of a dying uncle painting a final portrait of his niece came into my mind. I could picture the apartment and sensed the tension between the two of them. That’s all I had. I didn’t know he was dying of AIDS or that he had a partner. None of that was there at the start. I worked from that initial situation. The rest slowly fell into place as I wrote.
Tell me about uncle Finn, he is my favorite character in the book, how did you came up with him? Who did you want him to be?
He was there from the start. I understood quite early on that June loved him very much and that she idealised him to some extent. But I also wanted him to be almost too good to be true. I wanted someone like him to exist. June does gradually understand a bit more about his background, but I never wanted to write a story where Finn’s character and motives became questionable. I always wanted him to be the ideal uncle. The adult in June’s life that she could relate to.
What about the title, ”Tell the wolves I’m home”. What does it mean to you?
I get a lot of readers writing to me about the title. I never know if I should be the one to interpret the title for readers. Fairly early on in the book you find out that Tell the Wolves I’m Home is the title of the portrait Finn is painting of the two girls. But that’s not the whole meaning. On the bottom of page 327 (in the US edition—don’t know what page this is in the Swedish edition) it says:
And maybe that’s what it meant. Tell the Wolves I’m Home. Maybe Finn understood everything, as usual. You may as well tell them where you live, because they’ll find you anyway. They always do.
I think if you’ve read the book this will make sense.
How do you do when you write, do you have the story straight for you when you start to write, or do you come up with it bit by bit while you are writing?
I can’t know too much when I’m writing. If it doesn’t feel like a process of discovery, I get bored with it. So, I actually struggle with trying not to think too far ahead. I write somewhat blindly and then look at what I have and decide what to bring out and what I can lose Revision and editing are very important to my process. That’s when the planning comes.
Are you writing something right now?
I’m working on a second novel. I feel very superstitious about talking about the specifics at this point. I feel like I might jinx it!
What are you reading at the moment? Do you read a lot?
The last novel I read was Marissa Pessl’s ”Night Film”, which was completely gripping. I was lost in that book for a week or two. I don’t actually read very much fiction while I’m working on a novel for that very reason. It’s too easy to get lost in someone else’s world and forget the one I’m trying to create. Right now I’m reading a few non-fiction research books.
What kinds of stories are you drawn to?
As a reader I’m happy to read anything that holds my attention. That can be a page turner like ”Night Film” or ”Gone Girl” or it can be something much quieter and gentler that just coaxes me into it. It’s all about the voice and I never know which book will have that for me. I abandon about 8 out of 10 books I start.
Any you steer clear of?
Anything that seems like it will be formulaic or predictable.
Do you have a favourite novelist?
Not really. I have so many writers I love. Toni Morrison, Annie Proulx. Sandra Cisneros,
If you have to give a Christmas gift to someone and it has to be a book, what book would you give this Christmas?
I think it would have to be ”The Book of Everything” by Guus Kuijer. It’s such a beautiful book, one if those books that transcends age groups. Not enough people I know have read it.