Lucy Prebble “What ideas grab you? Meaty controversial issues based on real events. Topics that frighten and thrill you. Paedophilia, anorexia, corporate brinkmanship … Because you’re a perfectionist, research is a compulsion. You read widely on your current topic and immerse yourself in its world. For Secret Diary… this meant hours with courtesans, dominatrices, punters; for Enron, visits to the stock market bear pit.”
[excerpt from an interview in MsLexia magazine, Dec/Jan/Feb 2013/2014 issue]
I like research too, and to understand Rose Haldane in Ignoring Gravity I needed to learn about adoption. I read so many books about adoption, written by birth parents, adoptive parents, adopted children, adult adoptees searching for their birth parents: I read information guides on websites about how to adopt a child; how to search for your birth parents; what to say when… if… you should meet. It’s difficult: I immersed myself into this world which was alien to me, how could I ever write about this without feeling like an imposter?
Empathy. And imagination. I empathised with the stories I read and re-read. And I took their situations and put myself there, and then I imagined. What if it was me? What would I do? How would I feel? Why had this happened to me? How come I didn’t guess the truth?
Two books were key to my research:-
Nicky Campbell’s Blue-Eyed Son, click here to read my review and learn more about Nicky’s search for his birth parents.
And Paul Arnott’s A Good Likeness. He writes, “Instead of being Paul Arnott, 11/11/61, I was now Rory Brennan, 11/11/61.” It is compelling reading. Click here to read my review.
I drew up my ‘adoption scenario’ and put Rose into it. Then I imagined how she would react. And then I started writing.
If you agree with Lucy Prebble, perhaps you will agree with:-
Hilary Mantel – your characters are flickering constructs, they are always on the move
Joanna Trollope – e-books are leased
Hanif Kureishi – writing is an art, but it is also a business
‘Enron’ by Lucy Prebble [UK: Bloomsbury] Buy now