Back in May — long enough ago that I’d totally forgotten about it — Lambda Literary asked for interview questions for the fabulous Sarah Waters. This was just after I’d read The Little Stranger, so I was bubbling over with them, and I left a few at the Lambda Literary blog. Yesterday I was surprised and delighted to see that Lambda Literary had actually asked Sarah Waters those questions, along with great questions by Shelley Ettinger and Jeri Estes. Here’s a snip from her answer to my question about historical fiction, to entice you to visit the LL site and read the rest:
One thing that’s always intrigued me about our relationship with the past is how we’re always rewriting it. You can date a historical novel just like you can a period drama for TV or film: they always tell us as much about the period in which they were produced, as about the period they’re attempting to describe. I don’t see that as a limitation, though. The past is necessarily elusive; we can never “reproduce” it. But we can have lots of fun trying! That’s a big attraction of the genre, for me — taking on stereotypes about the past, and finding way to revise them, or to overturn them altogether.
And now back to teaching prep — as you could probably tell from my previous post, I’ve begun teaching my summer fiction workshop class at UT. Today was day two. Tomorrow, among other things, we’re going to take up Kelly Link’s suggestion of listing tropes you like and use that as an idea-generating writing exercise. (I will cheerfully admit that I do the writing exercises right along with my students.)