I often recommend reading Anne Tyler’s work for practical purposes…to see how she writes, to see her technique, and to see how well executed her dialogue is. I’ve read all her fiction, except for one children’s book she wrote with her daughter. I’ve never been disappointed.
This interview she gave is rare…for her. She doesn’t do this often, if ever. And I thought it was both interesting and informative. I learned a few things I didn’t know…like the fact that Judith Jones has been her longtime editor for years, and, they’ve only met four times. This is not unusual. I’ve never met any of my editors in all the years I’ve been getting published. It’s not that writers are reclusive. It’s that we are more behind-the-scenes people than up front people. For those who don’t know, Judith Jones discovered Julia Child and rescued “The Diary of Anne Frank.”
But the statements to which I’m linking in this piece that come from Anne Tyler are as understated as the clear simple lines in her books.
I found this amusing:
For some it seems Tyler’s work is just too darn “homely” to be a contender for Great American Novel status – adjectives such as “homespun”, “heartwarming” and “cosy” pop up alongside the superlatives in reviews – even though books by male contemporaries are meditations on the same theme (Franzen’s latest bumper family novel isn’t called Freedom for nothing), and twice as long. There’s not enough sex for a start. “I would never be in bed with my characters,” she says. “I try to show them respect.”
It’s interesting to me because I’m in bed with most of my characters and I try to show them the same respect in bed…more often than not…whenever I can. I can’t help getting into bed with them, so to speak, I write erotica and that’s what my readers want. I write for them, not for me. But I get what she is saying. Sometimes it does seem just a little too familiar and I wind up defending them and I have to hold back on a good deal of emotion.
And this is so true:
She says that over the years she learnt “just to go to my room and plug away. It doesn’t take very long for most writers to realise that if you wait until the day you are inspired and feel like writing you’ll never do it at all.”
It’s a long article and you can read it in full, here.http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/apr/13/anne-tyler-interview There’s also an interesting recommendation from Tyler about a book she thinks all fiction writers should read.