It all started at a picnic… A friend of mine and I were chatting up our favorite books, and I mentioned Niffenegger’s Time Traveler’s Wife.
“I know someone who is very good friends with Audrey,” she announced.
Wheels immediately flew into action. “I’d love to get an interview with her. Do you think your friend might consider asking on my behalf?”
Months later my friend emailed me. “My friend is a little wary of asking Audrey. She gets so many requests, you know.”
So I sold the concept for the interview–and the newborn WU blog–to my friend. And she sent my email to her friend. And her friend sent the email to Audrey. And Audrey said YES. As a health writer and researcher, I’ve had plenty of opportunities to interview big names. But though I deeply respect the work of the researchers I speak with, there’s something truly awe-inspiring about receiving an email from someone whose work you admire beyond words. This woman’s book made me lose a lot of sleep. I could not stop thinking about her book. I cried buckets over Henry (I know I’m not alone here, and I know plenty of men who’ve also cried buckets over Henry). I recommended this novel to anyone who stands still long enough to listen. I’ve let at least a half-dozen people borrow my well-bruised copy of TTW and bought copies for another half dozen.
The Niffenegger interview was a critical one for Writer Unboxed. It brought us a lot of traffic. In fact, barely a day goes by that someone doesn’t access it, ten months later (usually from the wikipedia link). The interview helped us to reach other top-notch writers and professionals; it taught us not to shy away from trying to learn from the best the publishing industry has to offer.
Because this interview is special to Kath and to me, and because we’re approaching the One Year Anniversary of Writer Unboxed, we thought this might be a good time to bring this interview out for an encore. Enjoy!
Recently, we had the honor of interviewing Audrey Niffenegger, author of the mega-best-seller The Time Traveler’s Wife, about career and craft. Audrey is also an artist and professor in the Interdisciplinary Book Arts MFA Program at the Columbia College Chicago Center for Book and Paper Arts. If you’ve never read The Time Traveler’s Wife, and you enjoy great fiction, you really have to pick it up; it’s destined to be a classic. Click here to read the synopsis at the Publishers Weekly website. Enjoy!
Part 1: Interview with Audrey Niffenegger
Q: How did the concept for The Time Traveler’s Wife evolve?
A: The original idea came in the form of the title. I wrote the ending first, and then the scene in which Clare loses her virginity. The book was written in no order at all, just me working on whatever I had some idea about. Toward the end of the process I radically changed the order of the scenes to flow along with Clare’s experience of time. Before that they’d been organized thematically, which several friends told me was too confusing.
Q: That was a significant change. Do you think it’s important to have friends/non-writers look at a story and offer feedback – just to make sure things are digestible for the masses? [Read more…]