Thursday, December 13, 2007
Interview with Maggie Ball
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
The book was, in many ways, a journey for me. Not so much in terms of
the plot, but in terms of the overall theme. I'm not sure enjoy is the
right word, but I got the most value out of exploring the key theme of
how we make meaning in our lives -- how we make our short time as a
person on earth into something valuable, important, permanent. I needed
to create that meaning for myself and in writing the book I was able to
explore and make that concrete.
What was the biggest challenge in writing this book?
I think the biggest challenge for me was in overcoming my sense of being
not up to the task. I read a lot of good books -- not just good books,
but great books, and so I tend to aspire to producing books of a similar
calibre to what I read. That's daunting when you're reading books
written by Umberto Eco, Peter Carey, Margaret Atwood or Julian Barnes.
It's a hard uphill road and keeping that nagging sense of self-doubt
which is always present quiet for long enough to get the job done was my
Who is your favorite character and why?
Well Marianne the protagonist certainly gets the lion's share of my
attention. It's her story and her journey and although the book is
written in third person, it's all her point of view, so I'd have to say
Marianne. But I also like Miles, the antagonist. I didn't want him to
come across as one sided or evil, and although he's not a force for good
in Marianne's life, I can certainly see both the seductive nature of his
gifts, and the little boy lurking under the bravado (that's my maternal
instincts coming out).
What do you enjoy about writing in general?
One thing I enjoy is how writing provides a kind of mandate for
observation which is very useful when you're under duress. In the
middle of an argument, or when everything is going wrong, there's always
a sense of the art I'm going to make out of the pain. I like to observe
the way a person might curl their lips, or hold their head. It helps
provide objectivity in the most subjective of situations!
What's next for you? I'm working on quite a few projects at the moment.
There's a full length poetry book I'm doing titled Impact Enigma
(exploring the usual subjects -- the universe, parenthood, love,
death...). Then there's novel 2, Black Cow, a treechange story moving
between the corporate world and the country. It's like Dilbert meets
The Good Life. After that there's Evie's Song about my grandmother, who
was a singer in the Catskills during WW2, and after that, well I have a
few other projects in mind. The only thing I need is more time!