Please welcome today’s guest, Andrea Lochen, author of two novels: her first, The Repeat Year (Penguin 2013), was praised by Kirkus Reviews as “an engaging, satisfying read that explores friendship, love and who we really are when it truly matters.” A draft of The Repeat Year won the 2008 Hopwood Novel Award. Andrea’s second novel, Imaginary Things, is forthcoming from Astor + Blue in April 2015. Lori Nelson Spielman, bestselling author of The Life List, called it, “a beautiful book, filled with vivid scenes, unforgettable characters, and oodles of heart. With a page-turning plot and an utterly unique concept, Imaginary Things entertains, inspires, and provokes thought—a perfect book club pick.”[pullquote]I’m completely fascinated and in awe of the highly imaginative process that authors undergo to write novels! I absolutely love the comparison of fictional characters as “imaginary friends” for adults.[/pullquote]
Andrea earned her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Michigan, where she was a Colby Fellow. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she was the Fiction Editor of The Madison Review, a nationally-distributed, student-run literary magazine. Since 2008, she has taught undergraduate writing at the University of Wisconsin-Waukesha and was recently awarded the UW Colleges Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. Andrea currently lives in Madison with her husband and daughter and is at work on her third novel.
Four Surprising Benefits to Letting Your Characters Take the Reins
When I was doing research for my new novel, Imaginary Things, I read psychologist Marjorie Taylor’s book, Imaginary Companions and the Children who Create Them. I was delighted to come across a chapter devoted entirely to adults and imaginary friends, and I was downright tickled to learn she included writers among the people who cavort regularly with pretend companions: in essence, our characters. Because as complex and painstaking as the process of writing can be—inventing a setting, characters, and a storyline from scratch—how different is it really from that joyful act of make-believe in which children engage? Our version is perhaps a little more sophisticated and systematic, but doesn’t it spring from that same essential desire to use our imaginations to create a fantasy world and well…play?
Marjorie Taylor also brought up another point that resonated with me—that authors sometimes report feeling like their characters are real people with their own independent agendas, often surprising authors with their unexpected declarations and actions. English children’s writer, Enid Blyton, confessed, [Read more…]