Debuterande författaren och bloggaren Flora Wiström ställde fem frågor om skrivande till en av sina idoler: Jennifer Clement, författare, poet och ordförande för PEN International.
Hi Jennifer. First of all: Prayers for the Stolen is one of the most gripping and captivating books I’ve experienced this year. I read it together with my book club and we were all stoked. So thank you. I’d love to ask you a couple of questions about your writing process. What are the key elements that bring you into the right writing mode?
Many thanks for your lovely words about my book. To answer your question, the key element is an image that haunts me. For example, with Prayers for the Stolen, I knew I wanted to write about how the violence was affecting women. I didn’t know what story that would be until I heard about how the girls were being hidden in holes their parents dug in the ground. This was the only way, in the Mexican countryside, that they could hide their daughters from the traffickers looking for young girls to sell into the sex trafficking mafias.
What does your typical working day look like?
If I am working on a book, I get up before sunrise and work for about three hours. I like that very quiet time when I am still close to my dream world and unconscious.
What are your main strategies when you create a novel character?
In a strange way, characters almost write themselves. It’s as if they always existed. However, I can tell you that I know when a character is alive because I fall in love with the character – even the “bad” characters. I also never place my characters in a position where they loose their dignity.
What do you do the days when writing feels terribly hard?
I go to a dance class and read books – especially poetry. Poetry is what I read most and I love the poems of Tomas Tranströmer.
How do you prepare for a new book project?
I always do a lot of research. For Prayers for the Stolen, I did at least 10 years of research. Technically, though, I usually write by hand – at least the first draft of a novel. I work with sharp pencils and paper. I always write poems on paper.
Bloggaren Flora Wiström är aktuell med sin ungdomsroman ”Stanna”. Mexikansk-amerikanska Jennifer Clement är författare, poet och ordförande för PEN International. Hennes roman ”Basquiats änka” släpptes nyligen på svenska.