Friday, January 14, 2011

Interview with Audrey Niffenegger

Audrey Niffenegger, author of The Time Traveler's Wife, has been kind enough to stop by Reading with Tequila to answer some questions.

Audrey Niffenegger is a visual artist and a faculty member at Columbia College in Chicago. In addition to her bestselling debut novel, The Time Traveler's Wife, she is the author of two illustrated novels, The Three Incestuous Sisters and The Adventuress. She lives in Chicago.

Reading with Tequila: In The Time Traveler's Wife, the jumps in time were very clear and easy to follow from a readers perspective. Was it ever difficult to keep track of where the characters was supposed to be at a certain time while writing a novel like this?

Audrey: It wasn't much different from writing my second novel, which has a conventional time flow, because I don't write from beginning to end. I start in whatever part of the story seems clearest and proceed forward and backward from there. I find it is easier to know how to begin if you know where the story is headed. I kept time lines to help me track the characters.

RWT: While Henry and Clare were the focus on the novel, Charisse is the character I wonder about the most. In her relationships (with both Gomez and Clare) was it that she was strong enough to stay or too weak to leave the situation as she knew it?

Audrey: She's a very strong person. She knows that Gomez loves her and that Clare is truly her friend and that life is untidy.

RWT: Not much light was shed on the later years of Clare's life. Was this to make the reader form their own idea of what she did in that time?

Audrey: Yes. The scene in which Clare finally goes back to her studio and makes a drawing is supposed to be a clue: she will eventually come to rely on her own imagination for a sense of purpose.

RWT: The Time Traveler's Wife is a novel that defies conventional genre classification. Are there certain types of book that you enjoy reading, or does your taste defy classification as well?

Audrey: I have pretty eclectic reading habits. When I was young I read enormous amounts of mysteries, science fiction and fantasy, as well as history. Now I read fiction, comics, poetry, books on subjects I am researching (at the moment it's circuses, genetic mutations, monsters, New Orleans) art history and criticism, medical books, travel books, and so on.

About the Book

A dazzling novel in the most untraditional fashion, this is the remarkable story of Henry DeTamble, a dashing, adventuresome librarian who travels involuntarily through time, and Clare Abshire, an artist whose life takes a natural sequential course. Henry and Clare's passionate love affair endures across a sea of time and captures the two lovers in an impossibly romantic trap, and it is Audrey Niffenegger's cinematic storytelling that makes the novel's unconventional chronology so vibrantly triumphant.

An enchanting debut and a spellbinding tale of fate and belief in the bonds of love, The Time Traveler's Wife is destined to captivate readers for years to come.

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