I have written a memoir here and there, and that takes its own form of selfishness and courage. However, generally speaking, I have no interest in writing about my own life or intruding in the privacy of those around me.
Nostalgia is something we think of as fuzzy. But it's pain. Pain concerning the past.
I never base characters on real people. There are people who do that but I really don't know how to do it.
It's true: one of the things that I've always thought about American society is that you never get the sort of natural politicisation of class consciousness that you would get in the United Kingdom or even in Australia.
I think that thing about the destruction of the world is there all the time, it's there every day when we look out the window.
Being famous as a writer is like being famous in a village. It's not really any very heady fame.
I don't think you have the right to shout about other people's private life.
Good writing of course requires talent, and no one can teach you to have talent.
I'm always the one with the activist friends. I've been an activist very little.
I went to work in 1962, and by '64 I was writing all the time, every night and every weekend. It didn't occur to me that, having read nothing and knowing nothing, I was in no position to write a book.
I don't separate my books into historical novels and the rest. To me, they're all made-up worlds, and both kinds are borne out of curiosity, some investigation into the past.
I thought I would be an organic chemist. I went off to university, and when I couldn't understand the chemistry lectures I decided that I would be a zoologist, because zoologists seemed like life-loving people.
One has to be able to twist and change and distort characters, play with them like clay, so everything fits together. Real people don't permit you to do that.
I'm interested in where we are, where we're going, where we've come from.
My greatest pleasure is to invent. My continual mad ambition is to make something true and beautiful that never existed in the world before.
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