Here, we’ve compiled a list of the best Novels Quotes from famous persons: Sophie Hannah, Lou Reed, Claire Tomalin, D. B. Weiss, Howard Jacobson. The wide variety of quotes available makes it possible to find a quote to suit your needs. You’ve likely heard some of the Novels Quotes before, but that’s because they truly are great.
Not many people were speaking truth to power in the ’80s. I had a really good time doing it – I found it gratifying. It was a joy to have an opportunity to say what you believed. It’s challenging to do it in fiction, but I liked writing the novels. I liked writing ‘Democracy‘ particularly.
I started writing morning pages just to keep my hand in, you know, just because I was a writer and I didn’t know what else to do but write. And then one day as I was writing, a character came sort of strolling in and I realized, Oh my God, I don’t have to be just a screenwriter. I can write novels.
Well, I think in my first two novels, both the characters are pretty neurotic, which I would say that I am.
I make a rod for my own back because people see my novels as quasi documentaries. But it is never history that’s the main event of my books. It’s my characters.
I love novels where not much ‘happens’ but where the interest is in the ideas and analyses of characters.
I also wanted to do something that I hadn’t really seen in almost any black novels, which was a complex love story in which both people were extremely intelligent and talented and understood a lot of things and were still at odds getting it together.
I never read detective novels. I started out in graduate school writing a more serious book. Right around that time I read ‘The Day of the Jackal’ and ‘The Exorcist‘. I hadn’t read a lot of commercial fiction, and I liked them.
Novels are the means by which we can escape the moment we are imprisoned in, but at the same time, the roots of a novel are in the world in which it is written. We write, and we read, to understand the world we live in.
Novels are make-believe and play for adults.
I like to read Bengali novels and short stories. I am not that fond of reading English books, as I don’t have a connect with it.
One of the things the novel can do is address big questions in ways that are accessible to people. It’s not that I want to teach people, but these are the things that interest me, and this is my medium for exploring ideas, and I think the potential of novels to do that is massive.
One already feels like an anachronism, writing novels in the age of what-ever-this-is-the-age-of, but touring to promote them feels doubly anachronistic. The marketplace is showing an increasing intolerance for the time-honored practice of printing information on paper and shipping it around the country.
My poems tend to be more celebratory and lyrical, and the novels so far pretty dark. Poetry doesn’t seem to me to be an appropriate tool for exploring that.
I love novels, but I’m not a novelist. I’m just a dramatist, which means I write lines for actors. That’s all I have ever wanted to do.
My second book, Follow Me Down had some success, got good critical notices, went into a second printing and things like that, but Shiloh was by far the most successful of those first five novels.
I have tried to create main characters who are drastically different from the types who generally appear in crime novels. Mikael Blomkvist, for instance, doesn’t have ulcers or booze problems or an anxiety complex. He doesn’t listen to operas, nor does he have an oddball hobby such as making model airplanes.
People often ask if my books should be read in any particular order, but they’re all standalone novels, so picking up any one of them would be fine.
The thing about the ‘Melrose’ novels is that I have to feel they’re impossible when I set out.
Perhaps, all writers walk such a line. In general – as we all do in our dreams – I believe I put something of myself into all the characters in my novels, male as well as female.
I don’t read that many novels, I’m more of a nonfiction fan.
Writing novels is so much more satisfying than writing television.
I write novels and other things.
My novels are often about people who are in love or attracted to each other.
I could go off into the wilderness and write fantasy novels for the rest of my life and probably be happy; but I always want to challenge myself.
Serial novels have an unexpected effect; they hook the writer as well as the reader.
In order to write novels for a living – it’s not pathological, but I do think and worry and brood and fidget about stuff that I’m working on.
I’ve written something like 17 novels, which isn’t bad, I suppose, but my father wrote 120 books, my mother 40. In comparison, I’m lazy.
I never could read science fiction. I was just uninterested in it. And you know, I don’t like to read novels where the hero just goes beyond what I think could exist. And it doesn’t interest me because I’m not learning anything about something I’ll actually have to deal with.
Coming out of university, one of my obsessions was that in the novels I was reading, they seemed to be portraying a world that had a social fabric. People knew each other in ‘War and Peace.’ They went to all the same balls. These were societies with tightly wound, woven, social textures.
As a writer of both novels and screenplays, I can say that screenwriting is a vastly rewarding creative life – if you fight hard enough to do it on your own terms. Whether I write books or not, my screenwriting life has been creatively rewarding and remains so.
After I’d been in college for a couple years I’d read Shakespeare and Frost and Chaucer and the poets of the Harlem Renaissance. I’d come to appreciate how gorgeous the English language could be. But most fantasy novels didn’t seem to make the effort.
The truly great books are always novels: ‘Anna Karenina,’ ‘The Brothers Karamazov,’ ‘The Magic Mountain.’ Just as with ‘Shahnameh,’ I browse these books from time to time to remember how a great book works on us or to teach my students at Columbia University.
I’m a feminist, but I think that romance has been taken away a bit for my generation. I think what people connect with in novels is this idea of an overpowering, encompassing love – and it being more important and special than anything and everything else.
The ‘Barnaby’ books were always intended to be graphic novels.
All novels are about crime. You’d be hard pressed to find any novel that does not have an element of crime. I don’t see myself as a crime novelist, but there are crimes in my books. That’s the nature of storytelling, if you want to reflect the real world.
People read vampire novels and say, ‘Oh I want to read another vampire novel.’ People read fantasy, and they’re like, ‘Oh I love fantasy.’ I don’t know that people are necessarily finishing ‘Hunger Games‘ and immediately wanting to read another dystopian tale.
Great novels have great characterization no matter what. But multiple points of view let me examine characters from entirely different perspectives, allowing me to learn more about everyone in the process.
I would be pleased if someone would invent a pill to remove my impatience, moodiness, and occasional bursts of anger. But if they did, I wouldn’t be able to write my novels or paint.
There was a time in my life when I wasn’t sure I’d ever write a short story again because I had started writing novels, and I am fundamentally a lazy person, and the fact is that a novel is a lazy person’s form, really. That is, you can amble; you can digress.
In writing my historical novels, I have to rely upon my imagination to a great extent. I think of it as ‘filling in the blanks.’ Medieval chroniclers could be callously indifferent to the needs of future novelists. But I think there is a great difference between filling in the blanks and distorting known facts.
All the great novels, all the great films, all the great dramas are fictions that actually tell us the truth about us or about human nature or about human situations without being tied into the minutia of documentary events. Otherwise we might as well just make documentaries.
When I moved to Los Angeles, I wrote spec screenplays. I was really poor, and I thought I was just gonna do this for a while to make a little money so I could write novels. I thought movies were a second-class art form. I condescended to it – I didn’t know enough to know it was really gonna be hard.
I wonder if novels work for women because they give us a safe place to talk about our ish.
I read everything aloud, novels as well as picture books. I believe the eye and ear are different listeners. So as writers, we have to please both.
I especially don’t like the graphic violence against women and children often depicted in novels such as ‘The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo‘ and others. I’m not sure if it’s being done just to entertain or whether it really is necessary for the characters involved.
A novel and its writer are inseparable: you are your books. A play’s not like that at all. ‘Abandonment‘s not mine – it’s everyone’s. I wanted it to be a co-operative thing because I was tired of that anal control that I have over novels.
My wife is the most savage critic. She doesn’t feel intimidated by my reputation. As far as she’s concerned, she’s just criticising a boyfriend who’d recently had a go at fiction. She can tell me to abandon whole novels.
I have some other novels I want to write. I have a lot of short stories – I love the short story.
I was definitely more of a movie/cartoon guy than comics, but I really do like graphic novels – I don’t have the time to sit down and read Stephen King like I used to, so I find picking up ‘Saga‘ every now and then and just diving back into it is a great way to stay reading.
I’m a novelist, that’s how I make my livelihood, and I concentrate on the novels.
Everything is personal – the poems and the crime novels. I have never been involved in any murders, but there are strong autobiographical elements in each.
I think books, novels and autobiographies have a power to touch people far more personally than films do, so there’s a bit more of a responsibility when you then dramatise it.
The way that I write novels in particular is I don’t usually outline; I just write. Part of the fun is discovering what’s happening in the story as I’m going along.
I think novels are profoundly autobiographical. If writers deny that, they are lying. Or if it’s really true, then I think it’s a mistake.
My gift, if that’s not too grandiose a term, is one for describing novels, biographies, and works of history in such a way that people want to read them.
Once I finished ‘Eileen,’ I wanted to write more novels. I don’t see myself stopping any time soon.
Fiction novels, that’s my game.
I started out when I was 29 – too young to write novels. I was broke. I was on unemployment insurance. I was supposed to be writing a Ph.D. dissertation, so I had a typewriter and a lot of paper.
I am an avid reader of Sidney Sheldon thriller novels.
My characteristics as a scientist stem from a non-conformist upbringing, a sense of being something of an outsider, and looking for different perceptions in everything from novels, to art to experimental results. I like complexity and am delighted by the unexpected. Ideas interest me.
Novels teach you that actions have consequences. They help you grow up.
I was someone who really loved fantasy novels and science fiction novels.
My father has always been the heart of my Penn Cage novels.
I don’t think you can tell the objective truth about a person. That’s why people write novels.
I feel just fine about ignoring or bypassing the rights of people I have known and loved to be rendered faithfully, or to be left in peace, and out of novels.
The reason Saul Bellow doesn’t talk to me anymore is because he knows his new novels are not worth reading.
The important discovery I made very early is that my novels had to be written without any given plan or outline. I can’t do it in any other way. But then they are dependent on the sentences, my intuition, and, as I have experienced many times, the subconscious.
Trollope wrote so many novels and other works that they tend to crowd each other out.
My crime novels are highly structured. I never start out with a dead body. I start with an impossible scenario. Opening questions should be mysterious, weird, intriguing, and contain the seeds of the solution. The structure has to be meticulous – I’m a structure freak.
Well, to be honest I think I’m a better short story writer than a novelist. Novels I find very hard, hours and hours, weeks and weeks, of conscious thought – whereas short stories slip out painlessly in a few days.
Novels are nothing but evolution, but there does come a point when that stops, and the story is sealed within the pages of the book. That doesn’t happen with a play. Even performances are different every night.
Charles Dickens left us fifteen novels, and in an ideal world, everyone would read all of them.
To see what books were available for my older students, I made many trips to the library. If a book looked interesting, I checked it out. I once went home with 30 books! It was then that I realized that kids‘ novels had the shape of real books, and I began to get ideas for young adult novels and juvenile books.
After I had written more than a dozen adult genre novels, an editor I knew in New York asked me to write a mystery for young adults.
Not to disparage anything, but most vampire stories tend to be romance novels that are ‘Twilight‘-ish with metrosexual guys.
Even if I couldn’t get my early novels published, I could still write. I went into newspapers, where I got paid to write every day. If there’s a better school for would-be novelists, I don’t know what it is.
I was pretty dead set against ever writing an academic novel. It’s always been my view that there are already more than enough academic novels and that most of them aren’t any good. Most of them are self-conscious and bitter, the work of people who want to settle grudges.
Why do I like to write short stories? Well, I certainly didn’t intend to. I was going to write a novel. And still! I still come up with ideas for novels. And I even start novels. But something happens to them. They break up. I look at what I really want to do with the material, and it never turns out to be a novel.
In the writing of novels, there is the problem of how to shape a narrative.
I’ve written 16 children’s books and five unpublished novels. Some of the latter were breathtakingly bad.
I obviously prefer writing novels but I take my journalism very seriously, and I enjoy doing it between novels. It gives me an opportunity to move in the outside world.
Seriously, you know – I love to write. I enjoy the process; I enjoy the different processes, because writing for film and television and graphic novels is all very different. So I’ve never had the feeling of, ‘Oh, you have to do this one thing.’
In the past, it was only in science fiction novels that you could read about ordinary people being able to go to space… But you laid the foundation for space tourism.
Most novels put out by small or corporate presses don’t really sell that well – usually a thousand copies or so. Working with a small press, you have to be willing to book reading tours, plan events, make contacts with other small press authors, and find new ways of getting word about your new work out there.
I think of novels in architectural terms. You have to enter at the gate, and this gate must be constructed in such a way that the reader has immediate confidence in the strength of the building.
My dad was always such a frustrated artist. He always worked very hard to support his family, doing a bunch of ridiculous jobs. He wanted to be a painter, but then he also wrote science-fiction novels in his spare time.
The fact is that most crime novels contain a good many punchlines. They are just rather darker than the ones you might hear in a comedy club.
History is present in all my novels. And whether I am directly talking about the sociological moment or just immersing my character in the environment, I am very aware of it.
I never got any training in how to write novels as an English major at Oberlin, but I got some great training for writing novels from anthropology and from Margaret Mead.
In real life, coincidences happen all the time. In novels, they are leapt upon with fury.
When I was 13 or 14, I started devouring novels; literature took quite a while to take me over, but it caught up just in time to save me from becoming a mathematician.
My second, third and fourth novels were mistakes, essentially.
I have been attacked in Turkey more for my interviews than for my books. Political polemicists and columnists do not read novels there.
My platform has been to reach reluctant readers. And one of the best ways I found to motivate them is to connect them with reading that interests them, to expand the definition of reading to include humor, science fiction/fantasy, nonfiction, graphic novels, wordless books, audio books and comic books.
Graphic novels are not traditional literature, but that does not mean they are second-rate. Images are a way of writing. When you have the talent to be able to write and to draw, it seems a shame to choose one. I think it’s better to do both.
I am honored to have had two Hallmark Hall of Fame Productions made from my novels – ‘Silver Bells’ and ‘Follow the Stars Home.’
I write the kinds of novels I like to read, where the setting is rendered with love and care.
I read a lot of detective novels.
I used to get criticized for putting food in novels.
I don’t usually like teen novels written in the present tense, particularly those told from a first-person viewpoint. Too many writers seem to believe that using either or both devices automatically imbues their stories with deep seriousness and a contemporary feel.
When someone asks me to list the 10 best novels ever written, I always refuse to answer.
I’ve written some standalone novels, but a book series allows fans in. There’s much more intense involvement.
I started trying to be a writer and failed for years. I tried novels, short stories, sitcoms, movies, plays, anything. And then, to support myself, I had millions of jobs on the fringes of show business.
Wherever I am, I take books, not novels.
I almost always use first person voice in my novels. It has its limitations, but it gives a sense of immediacy that’s hard to create with an anonymous, all-seeing narrator.
People who actually tell stories, meaning people who write novels and make feature films, don’t see themselves as storytellers.
The books that really made an impact on me were not set in New Zealand. Some were New Zealand novels, but the New Zealandness of them was not what carried me or excited me.
I love fiction and read novels constantly.
I think there is often a ‘what if‘ proposition that gets me thinking about all my novels.
I’d read one too many crime novels where the victim was just a name: body number one, dead woman number 12. I understood fear, and I wanted to create characters who made readers say, ‘Please, don’t hurt this guy.’ That’s the key to suspense. It’s easy to disgust a reader. It’s much harder to make them care.
I wrote about four novels before I wrote a word of journalism.
From the beginnings of literature, poets and writers have based their narratives on crossing borders, on wandering, on exile, on encounters beyond the familiar. The stranger is an archetype in epic poetry, in novels. The tension between alienation and assimilation has always been a basic theme.
I’d like to think that my films are personal enough to exist without hearkening back to their respective novels.
Total oblivion is the fate of almost everything in this world. I’m very likely to suffer that same fate; my work will probably not be remembered, and if any of it is, if any of those novels is fated to be one of those novels that is still being read 50 or 100 years after it was written, I’ve probably already written it.
Every new medium has, within a short time of its introduction, been condemned as a threat to young people. Pulp novels would destroy their morals, TV would wreck their eyesight, video games would make them violent.
My maternal grandmother – she was a compulsive reader. She had only been through five grades of elementary school, but she was a member of the municipal library, and she brought home two or three books a week for me. They could be dime novels or Balzac.
In many respects I have gone out of my way to avoid the usual approach adopted in crime novels. I have used some techniques that are normally outlawed – the presentation of Mikael Blomkvist, for instance, is based exclusively on the personal case study made by Lisbeth Salander.
The world is full of novels in which characters simply say and do. There are certainly legitimate genres in which this is sufficient. But in real and lasting writing the character is.
I love reading novels, and I love going to movies, but I kind of hate going to an adaptation of a novel, and it starts off with a voiceover.
I’ve read every single fantasy novel there is. I mean, I would challenge a lot of people to read more fantasy novels than I have.
The older books were quite light-hearted. But I think most of my novels do end on a deep note of pessimism. Shadows seem to be closing in. The final conclusion isn’t that life is wonderful and everything is bright and cheery and in the garden.
I wanted to be a writer, but the idea of writing novels or movies seemed really intimidating. I never got more than a few pages into one.
Yugoslavia was a kind of superpower. Great movies. Beautiful novels. Great rock-and-roll. We became a superpower in basketball. The problem is that people needed to identify more strongly with it after Tito and his awful, tricky way of leading the country.
The mystery form was very helpful for me as a beginning writer because mystery novels and suspense novels have a beginning, a middle and an end.
Dystopian novels help people process their fears about what the future might look like; further, they usually show that there is always hope, even in the bleakest future.
While I’ve written in the POV (point of view) of adolescent characters before… I never have had to create novels in which those characters not only drive the plot, but also are instrumental in resolving whatever issue the plot deals with.
First novels tend to be blood-lettings, and they’re focused on you, not the reader.
Read with care, George Orwell’s diaries, from the years 1931 to 1949, can greatly enrich our understanding of how Orwell transmuted the raw material of everyday experience into some of his best-known novels and polemics.
On that other novels followed: but I still wrote fairy tales and dreamy poems of another world.
I describe my works as books, but my publishers in Spain, in the United States, and elsewhere insist on calling them novels.
I used the pen name because I knew I wanted to write better novels under my own name someday.
I wrote eight full-length adult novels in my twenties. None of them were published.
I’d love to adapt more contemporary novels. But there isn’t really enough story and character to make a really satisfying serial, so they tend to be single dramas.
Here’s the thing about romance novels: The moment when the hero and heroine discover that they’re perfect for each other is often the moment when it’s them against the world.
When Joseph Wambaugh writes about the LAPD, you listen because you know he knows the scene. Lots of people write cop novels, but they don’t have that authenticity.
The writer of stories or of novels settles on men and imitates them; he exhausts the possibilities of his characters.
Writing ‘Book 1: The Maze of Bones‘ didn’t feel much different than writing one of my other novels, but I thought it was very innovative to offer the website and trading card components as well for those readers who wanted to go more in depth with the Cahill experience.
Sometimes people write novels and they just be so wordy and so self-absorbed.
Because, if one is writing novels today, concentrating on the beauty of the prose is right up there with concentrating on your semi-colons, for wasted effort.
The novels take longer to write than the picture book texts, and they do take a different sort of concentration. However, a very short, simple story that works well is just as exciting to me as any longer and more complex book.
Continuous present is all we have, and stream of consciousness – which in a novel is arguably just as artificial as the stilted dialogue that you get in most conventional novels. They’re all stratagems to try to get closer to the texture of lived life.
I do my best to build a strong factual foundation for each of my novels and rely upon my author’s notes to keep my conscience clear.
I never even had the time to read novels.
I have read a number of books, starting with novels, that I particularly liked.
I had been attempting novels since I was 14 but always ran out of steam. High hopes, poor craftsmanship.
Even the best novels have their share of stinker lines.
My self-publishing adventure led to my work being picked up by a traditional publisher and eventually hitting the bestseller lists. That led to two more bestselling novels.
If I did only one thing at a time I’d think I was wasting my time. If, for example, I only wrote novels I would feel like a charlatan and a fraud.
The story of Harold Fry and his unlikely pilgrimage began as an afternoon play for radio. For many years, I have been writing plays and adapting novels for ‘Woman’s Hour’ and the ‘Classic’ series. So this was originally a three-hander play, broadcast one sunny afternoon on BBC Radio 4.
I’ve seen novels that have grown out of one story in a collection. But it hasn’t occurred to me to take any of those stories and build on them. They seem very finished for me, so I don’t feel like going back and dredging them up.
I’m looking forward to writing more novels for young adults.
I am suspicious of writers who say their work is original and influenced by nobody. If it is, it is probably uninteresting. The biggest source of novels is other novels.
It seems to me that good novels celebrate the mystery in ordinary life, and summing it all up in psychological terms strips the mystery away.
I love general history. That’s all I read really. I don’t read novels, I read history. I love it. I live in an area that’s really rich in Civil War history. I live in Kentucky on a farm. A lot of revolution, a lot of military history I love.
But I have always – ever since The Accidental Woman – written novels about individuals attempting to make choices in the context of situations over which they have no control.
My novels are about a generation of Americans who lived between 1940 and 2000, who resisted the postwar political and cultural forces by choosing a wandering life of impoverishment and wonder. Inevitably, race and economics are a big part of their stories. Childhood, childishness, and children are never far.
I do have some theatrical background. I’ve written plays and seen plays and read plays. But I also read novels. One thing I don’t read is screenplays.
I had ‘Push’ and ‘The Paperboy’ next to my bed for many years. Those are some of the great, great novels.
Three of my novels and a good number of my short stories are told from the point of view of men. I was brought up in a house of women.
When I start writing these novels, I go into them with a spirit of inquiry rather than to substantiate prejudices I had in the beginning. If you don’t do that, you can’t write good characters.
I was convinced that the only thing I wanted to do ever – was write novels.
I love reading all kinds of books. I usually have about ten books going at any one time – books about the past, the present, novels, non-fiction, poetry, mythology, religion, etc. Reading is my favorite thing to do.
I do seem to have a lot of family secrets in my novels. I guess I’m one of those writers who is often writing about the same sort of themes, but taking different angles on them.
Between Scott on the earlier side and Dickens and Thackeray on the other, there was an immense production of novels, illustrated by not a few names which should rank high in the second class, while some would promote more than one of them to the first.
Second novels are bears. As are other people’s expectations for them. I think taking the time you need with the second book is key. Writers spend years and years on their first novels and then are often expected to turn out a second at warp speed, a recipe for failure.
White people use their literature to maintain culture. That’s why you find references to Milton and Spencer and Shakespeare and Dostoyevsky in contemporary novels.
Certainly, light fiction exists and encompasses mysteries or second-class romance novels, books that are read on the beach, whose only aim is to entertain. These books are not concerned with style or creativity – instead they are successful because they are repetitive and follow a template that readers enjoy.
I didn’t know anything about Opus Die except from pop culture, like Dan Brown novels, which I knew wasn’t really knowing anything about Opus Die.
Every year the literary press praises dozens if not hundreds of novels to the skies, asserting explicitly or implicitly that these books will probably not be suffering water damage in the basements of their authors’ houses 20 years from now. But historically, anyway, that’s not the way the novelistic ecology works.
As far as I am concerned, I write novels, and other people can do the labelling.
When I was in college, I had the good fortune to have Joyce Carol Oates as my writing teacher. She told me that I could take an aspect of myself, and from that one bit of personality, I can create a character. This is what I have done, particularly in my novels.
Transformation, liberation and celebration are the themes of all my novels.
I started out in life as a poet; I was only writing poetry all through my 20s. It wasn’t until I was about 30 that I got serious about writing prose. While I was writing poems, I would often divert myself by reading detective novels; I liked them.
French novels generally treat of the relations of women to the world and to lovers, after marriage; consequently there is a great deal in French novels about adultery, about improper relations between the sexes, about many things which the English public would not allow.
Novels are like paintings, specifically watercolors. Every stroke you put down you have to go with. Of course you can rewrite, but the original strokes are still there in the texture of the thing.
I know I’m not a wordsmith. And I don’t write poetry. Sometimes I think I should, because it’s really helpful. But I always wanted to write novels.
‘Pastoralia’ by George Saunders is one of my favorite novels.
I think of novels as houses. You live in them over the course of a long period, both as a reader and as a writer.
At one point I intended to write precursor and sequel novels, about the establishment of the Web and its next evolution, but I am very unlikely to now; they would take place in a different universe.
When you put on the suits, when you pretend you’re honest and you’re robbing at a far higher level, these guys deserve to… well, to be in my novels, and I have special fates reserved for them.
There are these boutique writers out there who think if they are not writing their novels sitting at a bistro with their laptops, then they’re not real writers. That’s ridiculous.
I plan to live to be 98, so I’ll be the guy at Dundas and Yonge flogging a box of mouldy novels.
My first published novel, ‘American Rust,’ took three and a half years of full-time work to write. But I wrote two apprentice novels before that.
I never see a novel as a film while I’m writing it. Mostly because novels and films are so different, and I’m such an internal novelist.
I tend to have an endless number of ideas for writing projects. I don’t necessarily say that as a good thing. Maybe it’s a good thing, but I have ideas for all kinds of projects: contemporary novels, graphic novels, anything that happens to go through my mind.
I’m just interested in serialization in fiction. I’m fascinated by it. I love the 19th-century novels. I’m interested in ways to bring that back to fiction.
I am a writer, which means I write stories, I write novels, and I would write poetry if I knew how to. I don’t want to limit myself.
I love reading about the supernatural, and time-slip novels, and the mistress of both is Barbara Erskine.
When I was one day old, I learned how to read. When I was two days old, I started to write. By the time I was three, I had finished 212 short stories, 38 novels, 730 poems, and one very funny limerick, all before breakfast.
Sometimes the fantasy writers set their novels in an ancient Earth, sometimes a parallel Earth, or, quite often, they offered no explanation at all as to the temporal and geographic location.
Well, writing was what I wanted to do, it was always what I wanted to do. I had novels to write so I wrote them.
I’m probably only going to make 10 movies, so I’m already planning on what I’m going to do after that. That’s why I’m counting them. I have two more left. I want to stop at a certain point. What I want to do, basically, is I want to write novels, and I want to write theatre, and I want to direct theatre.
I have tried very hard as a novelist to say, ‘Novels are about individuals and especially larger than life individuals.’
I chose a time in the century which had the greatest moments for novels – the late ’30s and World War II.
Well, the medium of film is so different than a book that just by bringing it into visual storytelling is to change it up. I think in a book, in any book, you can have a reactive character. Some of the great novels of all time have had that, but in a film you can’t do that.
I’ve never written a movie, I’m not in the movie business. I go out to L.A. and I’m like everyone else wandering around in a daze hoping I see movie stars. I write the novels that the movies are based on, and that feels like enough of a job for me.
When I was in my early 20s, my dream was to write mystery novels. I wanted to do what my favourite crime writer, Ross Macdonald, did – crank out a book a year. The only problem – and it was a considerable one – was that I stank.
I do think novels are overlooked. I did write one some years ago that I think is quite good, called ‘The End of the Story,’ not to blow my own horn.
Do your bit to save humanity from lapsing back into barbarity by reading all the novels you can.
People unacquainted with graphic novels, including journalists, tend to think of ‘Watchmen‘ as a book by Alan Moore that happens to have some illustrations. And that does a disservice to the entire form.
I’m very bad at violence in real life. I can’t stand it. And I’m so fed up with crime novels that have too much violence. I can’t really do it. It’s unnecessary.
To me, novels are a trip of discovery, and you discover things that you don’t know and you assume that many of your readers don’t know, and you try to bring them to life on the page.
Spy novels are traditionally about lone wolves, but how many people actually live like that?
Sometimes I – I try not to read too many fiction or novels.
But at the same time, I have trouble keeping things out of books, which is why I don’t write short stories because they turn into novels.
After 30 novels, release day is still a thrill. It’s always a little bittersweet, too.
I didn’t know anything about romance novels until a friend suggested that I try writing one. After I read a few, I realized that my favorite part of fiction had always been the relationship aspect.
I don’t read books. I like to read newspapers and magazines, but I’ve never learnt to enjoy books or novels.
I have no desire to write historical anything or futuristic anything – I want to find a way to get at the essence of what it’s like to be alive now. The reason why great novels from centuries ago are still great is because that’s what they were doing; it’s like a message from another culture.
I’ve been fortunate in that I never actually read any Jane Austen until I was thirty, thus sparing myself several decades of the unhappiness of having no new Jane Austen novels to read.
In effect I am not a novelist, but rather a failed essayist who started to write novels because he didn’t know how to write essays.
For many years, I read mystery novels for relaxation. But my tastes were too narrow – and, having read all of Agatha Christie and John Dickson Carr, I discovered that the implausibility and the thinness of the people distracted me unduly from the plot.
Novels attempt to render human experience; that’s really all they are. They are meant to convey empathy for the character.
Back in my 20s, when I wrote ‘A Place of Greater Safety,’ the French Revolution novel, I thought, ‘I’ll always have to write historical novels because I can’t do plots.’ But in the six years of writing that novel, I actually learned to write, to invent things.
Novels are my favorite to write and read. I do like writing personal essays, too. I’m not really a short story writer, nor do I tend to gravitate to them as a reader.
I must say, it was a lot easier writing novels than I thought it would be. I think it’s because I’m a novelist at heart, and it took me a while to figure that out.
Comic books and graphic novels are a great medium. It’s incredibly underused.
After these three novels I gave up writing novels for a time; I was dissatisfied with romantic doom, yet didn’t see much way around it.
I love movies, but I would love to write as many graphic novels as people would read from me.
Romance novels have the power to bring love into the lives of readers. Through the characters, we get to fall in love every time we pick up a romance novel. What could be better than that?
Actually, the 14 novels were written over a period of just over 6 years.
Time spent researching varies from book to book. Some novels require months, even years of research, others very little. I try to do most of my research before I begin but inevitably questions emerge during the writing.
When novels deal in abstractions, they generally go off the rails.
Novels are longer than life.
I hated historical novels with fluttering cloaks.
Narrativity presumes a special taste for plot. And this taste for plot was always very present in the Anglo-Saxon countries and that explains their high quality of detective novels.
I’ve always said men should study romance novels to find out how women think and what they want, both during the courtship phase and in a lifelong partner.
I would have to say the novel ‘War and Peace’ influenced me more than any other book. This greatest of novels demonstrated to me the enormous power of literature and fired me up with a desire to become a writer, to participate in what I considered then to be the greatest of all endeavors.
For me, writing post-apocalyptic novels isn’t so much about exploding helicopters and fifty-megaton doomsday bombs as it is about the pleasure of dealing with the best of everything that makes us human: cleverness, grit, loyalty, and self-sacrifice.
Only in novels can we take another human being into our head and create something jointly.
Political novels are full of pitfalls, particularly for a novelist with strong political leanings.
All humanity is passion; without passion, religion, history, novels, art would be ineffectual.
Far more women read fiction than men, and because of this, novels have become marginalised as serious texts.
In 25 years of writing novels, I’ve never had anything that felt like writer’s block.
Sometimes, a novel is like a train: the first chapter is a comfortable seat in an attractive carriage, and the narrative speeds up. But there are other sorts of trains, and other sorts of novels. They rush by in the dark; passengers framed in the lighted windows are smiling and enjoying themselves.
I think of my books now as suspense novels, usually with a love story incorporated. They’re absolutely a lot harder to write than romances. They take more plotting and real character development.
I abhor crime novels in which the main character can behave however he or she pleases, or do things that normal people do not do, without those actions having social consequences.
Novels are a kind of experiment in selfhood, for the reader as well as for the author.
The Hollywood movies are more like novels, and the kinds of films I make are more like poems.
I don’t see novels ending with any real sense of closure.
You want to make entertainment sometimes, and sometimes you want to make art, because I think the way we understand ourselves as human beings is through art, and the way we process emotions – I know I do – is through recognizing experiences on screen or in novels or in paintings.
It’s expected of novels that they should explain the world and create the illusion that things are ultimately logical and coherent. But that’s not what I see around me. Often, events remain mysterious and unresolved, and our emotions reach no catharsis.
I had novels to write, so I wrote them.
I feel like it’s hard to get into historical novels where you know what the story is far too well.
In a culture defined by shades of gray, I think the absolute black and white choices in dark young adult novels are incredibly satisfying for readers.
I’ve read all of Sarah Waters‘s novels which have been translated into Korean.
I think graphic novels are closer to prose than film, which is a really different form.
Creating artworks, writing and publishing novels, poetry, music, or conducting art-historical research requires support. So does everything else in the world, from physics to fish and wildlife management to human-rights advocacy.
In pre-movie days, the business of peddling lies about life was spotty and unorganized. It was carried on by the cheaper magazines, dime novels, the hinterland preachers and whooping politicians.
Movies have to handle time very efficiently. They’re about stringing scenes together in the present. Novels aren’t necessarily about that.
Of course Stephen King doesn’t believe in teen novels. I’ve started to suspect he doesn’t even believe in teenagers.
The book I made it big with in the U.S. was my fourth book, ‘Sanctum.’ My novels sell really well both there and in Canada, so once a year I do a promotional tour, visiting a different city every two days, doing book readings and signings.
When I write a novel, I want it to be completely different from a screenplay. I’m very conscious of the difference, and I want novels to work purely as novels. Otherwise I don’t see how they’ll survive – why don’t we just all go to the movies or watch television.
As new technology emerges as the greatest challenge to novels since the advent of film, it may be that the fragmentation of storytelling into installments key to Dickens’s era will be recreated in some way.
I knew I wanted to write novels, but I could not finish what I started. The closer I got, the more ways I’d find to screw it up.
I’m always writing across the same themes. But with short stories, I’m doing something different than with novels. In some ways, they’re coming from a much deeper place.
I was a bit of a delinquent growing up, a very poor student – I nearly failed several grades before dropping out of high school and getting a G.E.D. But I still read a lot. Thrillers and war novels, mostly, along with the occasional literary novel from my parents‘ bookshelf.
I want to write novels, and I want to write and direct theater.
I did projects on Champlain coming up the St. Lawrence River and on Henry Hudson cast adrift in the bay that now bears his name. And I read dozens of historical novels: Rosemary Sutcliff on Roman Britain and G. A. Henty on British heroes, though my all-time favourite was Ronald Welch’s ‘Knight Crusader.’
I grew up around books – my grandmother’s house, where I lived as a small child, was full of books. My father was a history teacher, and he loved the Russian novels. There were always books around.
Henry Miller wrote novels, but he calls his protagonist Henry, often Henry Miller, and his books are in this gray area between memoir and novel.
You have to be kind of clued into them, they are a world of their own, and most people find them disappointing because the best short stories are not constructed like novels.
There are people who say they want to write novels. They think, ‘I’ll learn my craft on the romance novel.’ If you don’t love the genre, it’s going to show, and it’s not going to be a good book.
I’ve never been good with deadlines. My early novels, I wrote by myself. No one knew I was writing a novel; I didn’t have a contract.
I read a lot of thrillers, especially American crime novels.
When I was young, about 18 or 19, I read all the Dostoyevsky novels, which made me want to go to St. Petersburg. So I went, and I was so inspired.
A lot of people have trouble with their second novel – the dreaded sophomore jinx. I wrote three books in between the two novels, and they just weren’t very good.
I think I belong to America’s last generation of novelists. Novelists will come one by one from now on, not in seeming families, and will perhaps write only one or two novels, and let it go at that.
I find screenplays easy to write, my novels being very visual. You see what people look like. The physical action is described.
Personally, I’m a big reader, and I’ve never wanted any of my favorite novels to be made into movies.
I have to have three or four books going simultaneously. If I’m not impressed in the first 20 pages, I don’t bother reading the rest, especially with novels. I’m not a book-club style reader. I’m not looking for life lessons or wanting people to think I’m smart because I’m reading a certain book.
Post-apocalyptic novels tell you that in the future there is some great war. I would tell you that most cops say that it’s going on right now.
I tell you, once a girl’s got a dose of novels she’s a pushover for iambic pentameter.
I wrote three novels in six months, with a clarity of focus and attention to detail that I had never before experienced. This type of sublime creative energy is characteristic of the elevated and productive mood state known as hypomania.
I watch a lot of teen TV and read a lot of YA novels. I also talk to teens whenever I can. There are cultural differences between when I was a teen and now, but emotions – anger, angst, love – are the same.
Novels have much more space than short stories, which gives you more leeway with the number of characters you can include. Even ‘furniture‘ characters can be described and given speaking parts to develop background or atmosphere.
People in my novels always have terrible problems. If they are not terrible, I make them more terrible.
Violence is inevitable in crime novels, but there are many different ways to tell a story. I use my characters’ reactions to illustrate the worst moments rather than let readers witness them at first hand.
I don’t read novels, but my semiotics study influenced everything about the way I read and edit and write.
I’ve done a lot of books with Asian antecedents to them – some of my fantasy novels have been that way, and certainly in the ‘Battletech’ universe, there’s a lot of Asian culture in that.
The writer I feel the most affinity with – you said you felt my books are 19th century novels, I think they’re 18th century novels – is Fielding, Henry Fielding, he’s the guy who does it for me.
One of the things I really like about Victorian novels is the close anatomisation of character. People’s gestures and mannerisms and the quality of their thought is very closely identified and analysed.
Overpopulated fiction can be so confusing that readers put the story down. Under-populated novels can seem claustrophobic or boring. You want the right number of characters for your particular work.
Unfortunately, I don’t get to read nearly as much as I want because I’m always working on my own stuff, either the novels or newspaper columns.
The idea that people in novels should be more sympathetic than people in life simply baffles me.
Characters are the key to a good book. It took me several novels to comprehend that.
You know, I read graphic novels but not encyclopedically.
One of my biggest goals, especially with writing YA novels, is just to have people enjoy reading.
I think sex is a very minor part of most romance novels.
For the past few years my fans have made it very clear that they would like to read my novels and revisit my family of characters faster than I can write them. For them, I am willing to make a change to my working methods so the stories in my head can reach the page more frequently.
At least half the mystery novels published violate the law that the solution, once revealed, must seem to be inevitable.
It seems to me that the novel as a medium has a very low signal-to-noise ratio. By which I mean: there are a lot of novels published, but the vast majority of them don’t represent major contributions to the medium.
I want a career writing these novels that I can be proud of. And then I want one as a screenwriter.
There’s an expectation these days that novels – like any other consumer product – should be made on a production line, with one dropping from the conveyor belt every couple of years.
I think a writer’s first job is to entertain, even in novels: to tell a compelling story that pulls the reader along toward an end. At the same time, the best stories are character-driven.
All of my scripts are based on other people’s novels. Generally, I consider myself as one who writes for theatre. I do not see film work as a continuation of writing for theatre. It is more of an interruption of the writing process.
After closely examining my conscience, I venture to state that in my historical novels I intended the content to be just as modern and up-to-date as in the contemporary ones.
I am sometimes asked to name my favourite books. The list changes, depending on my mood, the year, tricks played by memory. I might mention novels by Nabokov and Calvino and Tolkien on one occasion, by Fitzgerald and Baldwin and E.B. White on another. Camus often features, as do Tolstoy, Borges, Morrison and Manto.
There are so many YA novels being made because there is so much young talent that can bring it to life. J-Law was one of the first females to do it with ‘The Hunger Games,’ and it’s been going on for a while now. With J-Law, it was like, ‘Hey, I’m Katniss,’ and then, ‘Hey, I just won an Oscar!’
People compose poetry, novels, sitcoms – for love.
It’s the typical mid-life crisis kind of thing, where you just stop and wonder, ‘Should I go back to university and get a law degree?’ I kind of looked around me and thought, ‘What kind of idiot am I that I’ve just spent the last 10 years writing novels? Financially, I’m pretty much where I was when I was 28.’
I’d probably still be a financial journalist now if it weren’t for writing novels. Mmm. Fun! I’m much happier writing novels!
Teen problem novels? I can go through them like a box of chocolates. And there are fantasy books out now that need a lot more editing. Fantasy got to be so popular that people began to think ‘We don’t need to be as diligent with the razor blade,’ but they do.
Novels are such mysterious and amorphous and tender things.
One of the themes in my novels is that our crises can turn into blessings. We can feel like our world has crumbled, but ten years down the road when we look back on that time, we can see God’s hand at work. I love writing that theme into my books.
When I look back over my novels what I find is that when I think I’m finished with a theme, I’m generally not. And usually themes will recur from novel to novel in odd, new guises.
In seventh grade, with some vague sense that I wanted to be a writer, I crouched in the junior high school library stacks to see where my novels would eventually be filed. It was right after someone named Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. So I grabbed a Vonnegut book, ‘Breakfast of Champions‘ and immediately fell in love.
I write what I call ‘novels of consolation‘ for people who are bright and sophisticated.
I don’t know if foreigners will take to my novels or not. It may be that my books appeal only to a particular gender or age group rather than convey a more universal appeal.
When I started out in the eighties, the idea of creating serious comics for adults was pretty laughable to most folks, and for the longest time it was hard to even explain what alternative comics or graphic novels were. Nobody seemed to understand or care. Not so, any longer.
Since my romance novels had all been thrillers as well, it wasn’t such a leap for me to move into the straight thriller genre. The most difficult part, I think, was being accepted as a thriller writer. Once you’ve written romance, unfortunately, critics will never stop calling you a ‘former romance author.’
And I used to write novels and little stories and compositions and I – but I put them away because I started acting when I was 17. So there wasn’t much time.
I’ve always been a little bit more of a novel reader than a short story reader. I think the first books that made me want to be a writer were novels.
No one will ever know how many novels, poems, analyses, confessions, sufferings and joys have been piled up on this continent called Love, without it ever having turned out to be totally investigated.
Novels demand a certain complexity of narrative and scope, so it’s necessary for the characters to change.
Novels are one of the few remaining areas of narrative storytelling where one person does almost all of the creative heavy lifting.
War has always been a part of science fiction. Even before the birth of SF as a standalone genre in 1926, speculative novels such as ‘The Battle of Dorking’ from 1871 showed how SF’s trademark ‘what if’ scenarios could easily encompass warfare.
I would be rejected if I submitted any of my novels as romance novels.
Like so many aspiring writers who still have boxes of things they’ve written in their parents’ houses, I filled notebooks with half-finished poems and stories and first paragraphs of novels that never got written.
For me, movies and television are interesting because they are the dominant storytelling form of our time. My first love will always be fiction, and especially novels, but I’m a writer… I write poetry and essays and criticism and I’d love to write a whole play, and sometimes I even write scripts.
I find the attempt to find things out, which scientists are possessed by, to be as human as breathing, or feeding, or sex. And so the science has to be in the novels as science and not just as metaphors.
I don’t think Ireland has ever had a genius for the novel. Of course, there were plenty of Irish novels, but I don’t think that was ever the natural means of expression for the Irish.
Michael Chabon has long moved easily between the playful, heartfelt realism of novels like ‘The Mysteries of Pittsburgh‘ and ‘Wonder Boys’ and his playful, heartfelt, more fantastical novels like ‘The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay’ and ‘The Yiddish Policemen’s Union.’
I think all novels are contemporary. When people went to see ‘Antony-Cleopatra’ at the Globe in the 16th century, they were not going to get a history lesson on the Roman Empire. It was about love, sex, and also about dynastic troubles.
I started out as a poet. I’ve always been a poet since I was 7 or 8. And so I feel myself to be fundamentally a poet who got into writing novels.
I mean, there are many other directors who are probably both more skilled and excited to adapt novels or work within certain genre conventions. I’d like to do that kind of work someday, but for better or worse I’m too drawn by my own material.
I feel that I am a scholar who only with the left hand writes novels.
I’m an avid reader. Novels, non-fiction, comics, it doesn’t matter. Best way in the world to feed your head.
I have lost stories and many starts of novels before. Not always as punishment for ‘telling,’ but more often as a result of something having gone cold and dead because of a hiatus. Telling, you see, is the same as a hiatus. It means you’re not doing it.
My wife has a good sense of humor, and instead of calling me psychic with my novels, she simply refers to me as being ‘psycho.’ That’s because multiple things in my books have come true.
I like to take people you wouldn’t really think people would write novels about: an aqueduct engineer, a code-breaker, a hedge-fund manager. It’s in those sorts of lives that I find more fascination than in a CIA operative or a Marine or something like that.
Grand Central really didn’t want me doing anything under my own name but the ‘Kitty‘ novels.
It’s true that immigrant novels have to do with people going from one country to another, but there isn’t a single novel that doesn’t travel from one place to another, emotionally or locally.
I was one of those kids who was always seeking the truth, and I first looked for truth by reading novels. It took quite a long time for me to realize there are better ways.
In my view, the plangent artificiality of a lot of creative work results from the fact that the people who write novels, direct films and put on plays tend to read too many novels, watch too many films and go to too many plays.
I don’t think you can write novels on the road. You need a certain stability.
There’s a sense in all my novels that nothing is certain.
I write novels, mostly historical ones, and I try hard to keep them accurate as to historical facts, milieu and flavor.
Novels, in my experience, are slow in coming, and once I’ve begun them I know I have years rather than months of work ahead of me.
Each of my novels has come from a different place, and the processes are not always entirely conscious. I have lived off and on in America for a number of years and so have accumulated observations, found things interesting, been moved to tell stories about them.
I began my writing life as a poet, so poetry has always been fundamental. I evolved from poetry to journalism to stories to novels. But poetry was always there.
In everything I’ve written, the crime has always just been an occasion to write about other things. I don’t have a picture of myself as writing crime novels. I like fairly strong narratives, but it’s a way of getting a plot moving.
I consciously try to end my novels at a point where I won’t have to wonder about my characters ever again.
Novels often have leisurely openings; a TV drama needs an arresting opening.
I like reading novels because it provides insight into human behavior. I am really interested in feelings and think they are what define us as a species. When you really get it right in acting, it’s an act of empathy. You feel less distant from others, and that is really exciting.
I think I would have been a writer, anyhow, in the sense of having written a story every now and then, or continued writing poetry. But it was the war experience and the two novels I wrote about Vietnam that really got me started as a professional writer.
When I was growing up, I always read horror books, while my sister read romance novels.
I like the idea of making big budget films with a heart. I like graphic novels more than comic books.
In the first year, 1988, I wrote and sold 3 novels.
All of my books, which are supposedly, I mean they’re called YA novels, my hope is that adults would find no reason not to read them if they read them.
I would like to champion diverse forms like graphic novels and works told in verse and diverse writers and illustrators and diverse authors as well.
People lose it when I say this, but I’m a novelist who doesn’t read novels. There are lots of good reasons for not reading novels! I’m also a game writer who doesn’t play games – I keep everything very separate. The only crossover with me is comics. I write them, and I read them passionately.
I started out as a novelist and wrote several novels before deciding to publish one, and I fully intend to go back to the form.
A lot of Chinese martial arts films were based on Chinese martial arts novels. And these novels created a world of putting history, calligraphy, and martial arts into one.
I guess I would say that most of what I’ve learned about storytelling derives from novels and short stories. I cannot think of a novel or story, or a novelist or story writer, who thinks in terms of three-act structure.
Young adult novels don’t shy away from the discussion of weight issues, and ‘Blubber,’ the tale of an overweight, not-so-sympathetic fifth-grader bullied by her peers, is a refreshing take.
I didn’t want to write a biographie romancee especially since I already write novels, nor did I want to challenge the rules of the biography game, arbitrary as those rules might be.
The great thing about novels is that you can be as unshy as you want to be. I’m very polite in person. I don’t want to talk about startling or upsetting things with people.
I really love to make sweeping historical gestures that are like little illustrations of novels.
I’ve always felt that the comic strip medium stands equally beside all the other story telling mediums: novels, movies, stage plays, opera, you know, you name it.
My novels aren’t really generated by a single conceptual spark; it’s more a process of many different elements that come together unexpectedly over a long period of time.
My high school did not offer courses in philosophy, so the books that initially stimulated philosophical reflection in me were novels by Charles Dickens, Henry James, and Fyodor Dostoyevsky.
I feel very strongly that where the facts exist, a historical novelist should use them if they’re writing about a person who really lived, because a lot of people come to history through historical novels. I did. And a lot of people want their history that way.
The difference between graphic novels and web comics is even greater than graphic novels and story boarding. Web comics really is a legitimately separate genre.
I just reached the point where plot-driven novels don’t hold my interest because I don’t care about the fate of characters anymore – whether Emily marries Tom or not, that kind of thing.
I strongly believe that the art of the novel works best when the writer identifies with whoever he or she is writing about. Novels in the end are based on the human capacity, compassion, and I can show more compassion to my characters if I write in a first person singular.
‘Game of Thrones’ is taking dense novels and trying to shrink it all down to a slightly manageable series in the sense that there are so many characters and so many locations.
They say great themes make great novels. but what these young writers don’t understand is that there is no greater theme than men and women.
My entire career writing novels was wrapped up around Harry Bosch. This character was too important to me to just hand off.
I keep thinking I’ll enjoy suspense novels, and sometimes I do. I’ve read about 20 Dick Francis novels.
Whatever happened to books? Suddenly everybody‘s talking about these 100-hour movies called ‘Breaking Bad‘. People are talking about TV the same way they used to talk about novels back in the 1980s. I like to think I hang out with some pretty smart people, but all they talk about is ‘Breaking Bad.’
Anyone who sets foot into the ‘Watchmen’ universe and isn’t just a little nervous should be given a few days of electroshock therapy. I’ve always considered ‘Watchmen’ to be one of the best graphic novels ever written, and when it came out back in 1986 I was as blown away as everyone else. Just masterful.
I was writing novels in high school and apprenticed myself in a way both to Faulkner and to Hemingway.
First, people don’t read novels off screens, and they don’t have a tendency to shell out real money for books when they don’t retain anything physically for their money.
A surprising number of teens I meet in rougher schools around the country find refuge in novels and creative writing. It’s not always the usual suspects either, the high achievers.
In suspense novels even subplots about relationships have to have conflict.
Milan Kundera was my literature professor. He’s a Francophile, so he made us read French novels like ‘Les Liaisons Dangereuses,’ which I made a version of many years later as ‘Valmont.’
When I wrote The Onion Field, I realized that my first two novels were just practice.
Having written for film and television, I had little interest in turning ‘The Good Father‘ into a Hollywood thriller. I was writing a novel, and novels demand that the writer goes deeper, both emotionally and thematically.
I remember when I was writing ‘The Tin Drum,’ I had the totally misguided idea of giving Oskar Matzerath a sister, and he just wouldn’t have it. There was no space for a sister, yet I had the character of the sister in my head. In fact I used her in later novels, in ‘Cat and Mouse‘ and ‘Dog Years,’ Tulla Pokriski.
Some people become passionate readers and fans of science fiction during childhood or adolescence. I picked up on SF somewhat later than that; my escape reading of choice during my youth was historical novels, and one of my favorite writers was Mary Renault.
I’ve had three novels published, and I was working a little bit in theater in Ireland. I wrote one film script just to see what it would turn out like.
I read mostly fiction, a lot of 19th-century novels.
It’s an article of faith that the novels I’ve loved will live inside me forever.
I try to keep all my novels in print. Sometimes publishers don’t agree with me as to their worth.
As a reader, I’ve always been interested in dystopian novels like ‘Nineteen Eighty-four’.
My novels come from within me; they are things I feel I want to do.
Science fiction is the ugly stepchild of mainstream literature, and fantasy is the ugly stepchild of science fiction, and tie-in novels are the ugly stepchild of fantasy… and on and on and on.
I get a lot of moral guidance from reading novels, so I guess I expect my novels to offer some moral guidance, but they’re not blueprints for action, ever.
Even in novels where the love relationship isn’t the focus, I feel like it’s often there, and the background is some barometer of whether this is a happy or sad story or whether this is a successful or unsuccessful life.
Of John Le Carre’s books, I’ve only read ‘The Spy Who Came In From The Cold,’ and I haven’t read anything by Graham Greene, but I’ve heard a great deal about how ‘Your Republic Is Calling You’ reminded English readers of those two writers. I don’t really have any particular interest in Cold War spy novels.
You’ll notice that my books offer great variety. Some are for adults, some for children and some for teens. There are mysteries, historical novels, picture books, love stories and stories of crisis and courage.
I can’t inhabit my characters until I know what kind of work they do. This requires research because my jobs for the last decade have been author and professor, and I’d like to spare the world more author or professor novels.
If to live is to progress, if you are lucky, from foolishness to wisdom, then to write novels is to broadcast the various stages of your foolishness.
I always tell my students, ‘If you walk around with your eyes and ears open, you can’t possibly live long enough to write all the novels you’ll encounter.’
‘Great Expectations’ was an important novel in my adolescence. It was very much one of those emblematic novels that made me wish I could write like that. It helped that my models as a writer were dead over a hundred years before I began to write.
I think it’s harder than ever to be an artist. I think that you end up, especially as a middle-aged person, you pay such big consequences for saying, ‘I’m just going to devote my life to making art,’ or ‘I’m going to devote my life to writing novels.’ You end up with no resources.
I liked 35 and in both my novels that is the age of the lead characters. I tried making them my age but they just seemed to keep moaning about stuff.
I’ve written only two novels, but they’re both long ones, and they each took a decade to write.
I’ve read short stories that are as dense as a 19th century novel and novels that really are short stories filled with a lot of helium.
‘The Golden Compass’ became a bad experience because the studio didn’t have faith in the strength of the ideas of the novel, which is ironic because it’s one of the greatest fantasy novels ever written, if not the greatest, and they took the religion out of it and tried to turn it into a popcorn movie.
I’ve always been fascinated by the concept of reincarnation. I learned that many brilliant people were interested in reincarnation, including Carl Jung. I’m a big Jungian. So I began writing novels involving theories integrating past and present, even if the past element in the novel took place 500 or 1,000 years ago.
My first two novels were set in the past, and that freed me up in a lot of ways; it allowed me to find my way into my story and my characters through research.
I don’t write romance novels.
People who don’t read seem to me mysterious. I don’t know how they think or learn about other people. Novels are a very important part of our education.
People respect nonfiction but they read novels.
I wrote one terrible manuscript after another for a decade and I guess they gradually got a little less terrible. But there were many, many unpublished short stories, abandoned screenplays and novels… a Library of Congress worth of awful literature.
With the crime novels, it’s delightful to have protagonists I can revisit in book after book. It’s like having a fictitious family.
I would sooner read a time-table or a catalogue than nothing at all. They are much more entertaining than half the novels that are written.
Call me territorial or narcissistic, but I avoid novels about people who share my vocation.
If I present a boring personal life to my readers, it’s going to be harder for them to think of my novels as thrilling.
Of all the novels I’ve written, my favorite is ‘Mick Harte Was Here’.
In ordinary detective novels you never see the consequences of what happens in a story in the next book. That you do in mine.
Soon after publishing a book for kids, my mailbox began to fill with letters from children all across America. Not because my novels for young readers are bestsellers – they’re not by a long shot – but because today’s kids love to write to authors.
I have more than 100 legal pads filled with handwriting. Eight novels, two books for children, countless stories and essays.
I’ve always had a compassion for characters in novels – the sense that they are, whatever they might think, living in a world that has a shape they don’t know and can’t finally alter.
The easy answer is that writing novels is a lot more fun than practicing law.
But I think, and hope, that the novels can be understood and enjoyed as science fiction, on their own terms.
My early novels were written in quite a dark place. I stand by them, but I would never write them again. I think it is subversive to embrace emotional optimism, because it goes against the grain.
The best novels are those that are important without being like medicine; they have something to say, are expansive and intelligent but never forget to be entertaining and to have character and emotion at their centre.
Often I think the novels I read won’t make very good movies – I better not say which I’m looking at for potential films! – but it’s nice to have an excuse to just sit and read for a whole day.
Even in horror novels where you know most characters aren’t going to make it to the end, it’s crucial to have fully fleshed-out characters. If you don’t do that, the reader doesn’t care what happens to them.
I’ve read every one of Donald Goines’ books. So as soon as I heard there was an opportunity for one of his novels to be turned into a movie, I jumped at the opportunity.
My novels are certainly more exciting than my own life.
It’s with bad sentiments that one makes good novels.