Audrey Niffenegger published The Time Traveller’s Wife In 2003. It was released to acclaim and has recently been made into a fantastic film. With a second book out now and a third on the way, Audrey was very kind to get answer some questions for me, for which I am extremely grateful.
Her latest book, Her Fearful Symmetry can be found here on Amazon UK and Amazon US.
Interview is as follows:
1.) How does it feel to have The Time Traveller’s Wife and Her Fearful Symmetry be such big successes?
It’s always exciting for me when something I have made finds an audience. I have occasionally been surprised by how far out into the world the books have reached; I once signed a book for a man in London, and he told me he was sending it to his daughter in Saudi Arabia; he imagined it might be the only copy in that country and perhaps he was right.
2.) Compared to your previous two novel’s success, do you feel any pressure on your upcoming third novel?
I think all the pressure is on second novels. For the third one I am planning to be leisurely and try to enjoy working on it.
3.) The Time Traveller in The Time Traveller’s Wife symbolized men in relationships. Did you worry that the time traveling would run the risk of not being a big enough metaphor for the disappearance of men, or people would take the metaphor too literally?
Mostly I worried about telling the story and whether the things that happened in the book were at all plausible and whether the characters behaved in ways that were true for them. I wasn’t thinking much about readers, beyond trying to make sure I wrote very clearly so readers would not get lost. I have learned that readers will interpret books as they wish to, regardless of what I intend, and that’s fine.
4.) With your books being popular in book groups, how does it feel knowing that people come together to discuss your work and would you ever like to be a fly on the wall?
No, just the opposite, I have no desire to spy on readers while they discuss the books. I believe in a certain distance, so I can idealize the readers and so they can think about the books rather than me.
5.) it will not be too long till the release of your third novel, yet a 6 year gap in between the first and second, How do you approach writing with the time to release a novel?
Um, actually it’s going to be a while before the next novel is published as I am still in the beginning stages of writing it. I am a slow writer, partly because I like to think about things for a long time as I work on them, partly because I always have several projects going at once.
6.) You have published visual novels as well as written novels, was this for enjoyment or did you find it artistically refreshing?
The art is just as important to me as the writing.
7.) With the extensive amount of research you did for Her Fearful Symmetry in Highgate Cemetery, which you appear to have a strong emotional connection with, are you doing such intensive work for your upcoming book, if so what?.
The new book involves circuses, so I am happily researching that, though I have not joined a circus, I’m just an interested bystander.
8.) At what age did you know you wanted to write for a living, and how would you describe the journey?
I would never say I thought I would write for a living; the thing I was doing for a living was teaching, which I still enjoy very much. I write because I have ideas for books.
9.) Who do you consider influences on your writing?
Alberto Manguel, Dorothy L. Sayers, Richard Powers, Donna Tartt, David Foster Wallace, Geoff Ryman, Raymond Chandler, Louise Fitzhugh.
10.) With Her Fearful Symmetry available for the Kindle, how do you feel about the sudden surge in E-readers?
I am surprised at how eager people have been to abandon bookstores. I love bookstores; I love to be surrounded by books, to browse the shelves, take books down and handle them. I love being with other readers, strangers I am not going to actually speak to but with whom I am spending a quiet afternoon choosing books. I will miss bookstores when they are gone.