She writes the books in collage – distinct, hermetic scenes that she then arranges and rearranges and stitches together to make a whole, though the overall architecture is always in her mind and she has the chronology to lean on.
Mantel’s process is fascinating.
This is why novels are magic, and why they’re not only worth celebrating: at some level it’s probably necessary that we celebrate them. They are invented untruths, but without those untruths – those literal lies – we’d be severely limited in what we could ever understand about our real selves.
Just because something didn’t happen, it doesn’t mean it’s not true.
I’m not always so benevolent. When Thomas Mallon gave one of my novels a lacerating review, I retaliated by reshelving him. I snatched him from his place beside an author I thought he might enjoy — David Malouf — and wedged him instead alongside Toni Morrison, hoping that her liberal feminism might prove a thorn in his conservative spine.
I would listen to a DVD commentary-style track of Geraldine Brooks shelving her books.
“The next thing I publish is likely to be a book for children.”
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