After her worldwide success novel "The time traveler's wife", and waiting for the movie based on it, Audrey Niffenegger reveals inedited aspects of the story. Eclectic personality, writer, artist, illustrator, creative writing teacher, Audrey released this interview on Dec 6th 2008.
Are you a SF reader? (If yes, can you mention your favorite authors?)
I am, but I never seem to be up on all the SF news; I’m just now getting around to watching the new Doctor Who series, for example. My current favorites are Kelly Link and Geoff Ryman. And H. G. Wells has been a major influence. Black Water, a collection of fantastic stories edited by Alberto Manguel, would be one of my desert island books.
I tried to eliminate paradox from the story because it would have been a distraction. So the rules are:
-everything happens only once. Nothing can be changed;
-therefore there is no reason Henry can’t meet himself, as long as nothing changes; he experiences the event as many times as there are Henrys at the event;
-because nothing can be changed, this story is a tragedy, and is true to life.
Actually the book is dark and that it was even darker originally. Reading the story it seems there is a specific plot point where things start to collapse. Until then, anything was possible. Even a happy ending (which I know you consider artificial almost always). Henry loses his feet, he is trapped in the closet in the library (which he had always feared), and so on. That is the point where the reader starts feeling sorry because it is clear that he will die after being wounded in the hunting place. Did you explore any possible different end or was this given from the very first moment you started writing?
Catholics believe that God gives humans free will. Hence, the woman in the garden with the snake and the apple. Certain Protestant sects believe in predestination. Clare has a hard time accepting a universe in which everything has already happened, precisely because she believes in free will. Henry struggles to cultivate a sense of free will; he tried not to know what the future will bring so he can make choices freely.
Yes, although she waited quite a long time for her happy ending.
Is the disease Henry has something which might represent his sub-conscious? I mean, he always leave in emotional moments (his marriage, the birth of Alba), like he cannot sustain them.
The time travel is meant to be a metaphor for memory, always glancing away from the present into the past.
Can you comment on the importance of subconscious in human beings?
The director is Robert Schwentke. The movie is finished, as far as I know, and will be released some time in 2009. I am not involved with it, so I don’t really have any inside information. I hate people who comment on movies they haven’t seen (don’t you?) and since I have not seen it, I’m going to wait till it’s out before I say anything about it.
I read your current job is teaching students how to write. This is gorgeous. Do you think (good) writing is more a talent or something everyone can learn?
I think that most people can tell a compelling story, and most people can learn to be competent writers. Good writing requires sensitivity to the reader and that is one of the things a student can get from a writing class: a sense of whether they are having the effect they think they are having.
Pics from forthcoming movie: here