Quotation of the Week: Marilynne Robinson

Home borrows characters from Gilead but centers on Ames’s friend Reverend Robert Boughton and his troubled son Jack. Robinson returned to the same territory as Gilead because, she said, ‘after I write a novel or a story, I miss the characters–I feel sort of bereaved.’” (emphasis added)

Source: Marilynne Robinson, interviewed by Sarah Fay, The Paris Review, fall 2008.

I don’t have multiple novels to my credit, but I have to admit that I, too, have enjoyed reviving characters from one story to appear in another.

What about you?

2 thoughts on “Quotation of the Week: Marilynne Robinson

  1. Theresa Milstein says:

    I've written multiple novels, but they're not published, so I haven't truly left them yet. J.K. Rowling said something similar about finishing the Harry Potter series.

  2. Jenn says:

    I know very well that "bereaved" feeling. It was palpable after my first novel was published (less so after my second one, interestingly …).

    After my first novel came out, and the pub date giddiness abated, I found myself longing to return to those characters in a second novel. I wrote a few (dreadful) pages, but (wisely) decided to pursue a completely unrelated storyline for my second novel. Given the particulars of my debut, I knew it was critical to make career choices that wouldn't brand me as a one-trick pony, so I set those pages aside, telling myself that once the other book was complete, I could return to them if I still felt drawn to do so.

    Now, thirteen (!) years later, I'm working on a sequel to that first book. I use the term "sequel" very loosely, because there's an entirely new character around whom the entire narrative revolves, but those characters that I loved are still very much involved. Other than a few small details, the book looks nothing like those scribbled pages I wrote in the throes of grief, but it's my hope that old and new readers will find it compelling.

    (On a note of synchronicity, literary agent Nathan Bradsford also has a post up on his blog this week regarding the temptation to write sequels. Worth a look!)

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