Welcome to the real world
As some of you may be aware, UK book site, Bookhugger, has been running an occasional series of online Author Panels, in which selected authors are asked to discuss an issue pertinent to their work. Past panels have included Aly Monroe, Helen Walsh and Armand Cabasson on Writing from Life and Ian Thomson, Daniel Kalder and John Geiger on Reportage. I’m very pleased (and a bit flattered) to have been asked to contribute to their newest instalment, Welcome to the real world, which focusses on the use of real life characters and settings in fiction (something I did quite a bit of in The Resurrectionist). It’s a fascinating question, both because of what it tells us about the changing nature of fiction and fictionality, and because of the creative questions it throws up. As I say in the panel:
“All of that said, as a writer I’ve always been a bit wary of over-emphasising the role of research. At some deep level it seems to me that as a writer your responsibility is to the story, and to the way you’re telling it, and everything else is subservient to that. Indeed often too much research can be a trap, because you begin to feel constrained by it, as if you have a responsibility to what really happened.”
You can read the full piece on the Bookhugger site.