Thursday 27 May 2010

Our Fearful Symmetry ... and how Tracy Chevalier met Audrey Niffenegger

Sarah McIntyre had a spare ticket to an event I didn't even know existed featuring two fabulous authors but focusing on two books that I had never read.

So of course, I went.
It was Tracy Chevalier (Girl with Pearl Earring) and Audrey Niffenegger (The Time Traveller's Wife) - and it was just upstairs from my home, in Highgate Cemetery. Yes, dear reader, writers for ADULTS.

Sarah and I couldn't resist pretending we were the identical twins on Audrey's cover:
Our fearful symmetry

Now for the big confession: I haven't read either author. And though I've lived in the area for over 20 years, I've never done the Highgate Cemetery tour. I'm about to make up for all these flaws in my character though because it was a brilliant talk - both authors had written books set in the cemeter - Tracy wrote Falling Angels, and of course Audrey's Her Fearful Symmetry is still very recent.

Sarah has written everything up on her blog so I don't have to give you a blow by blow. But one of the fun snippets of the evening was Tracy talking about how she met Audrey. Both women volunteer with the cemetery - and would you believe it Audrey continues to work as a volunteer tour guide!

The key nugget I came away with was something that Audrey said about readers taking over ownership of a story - after someone asked if she realized that there was fan fiction and blogs in the wild that had appropriated her characters :
I started out with the illusion that i was controlling the story. I realized that all I had done was make a code book for readers to make films in their heads.

And here are some pictures of Sarah going berserk on my trampoline just before we went to the talk:

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