Audrey Niffenegger spends time with SheKnows talking The Time Traveler’s Wife and her new novel, Her Fearful Symmetry.
Ghosts in the graveyard
Audrey Niffenegger is back with a ghost story!
For the millions of readers who loved The Time Traveler’s Wife and have waited patiently for Audrey Niffenegger’s
follow up novel, the wait is nearly over.
Six years after the incredible success of her beloved The Time Traveler’s Wife novel, the movie is out in theaters (which the author has not seen nor promoted at all) and her new
book Her Fearful Symmetry is about to hit bookstores (September 29, 2009.)
SheKnows was thrilled to speak with Niffenegger about her craft, The Time Traveler’s Wife and Her Fearful Symmetry
— her incredible new book about a ghost, London’s Highgate Cemetery and twin sisters who move to London after their aunt dies and leaves them her flat near the cemetery.
On The Time Traveler’s Wife
SheKnows: Where did the idea of The Time Traveler’s Wife come from?
Audrey Niffenegger: The idea came in the form of the title, while I was drawing one day. I wrote it down and began to turn it over in my head. The title contained two characters,
the time traveler and his wife. It seemed that it might be rather trying to be the wife. I imagined her waiting. Then I had an image of an old woman in a bright room, waiting, and I knew that was
the end of the story. After that it was a matter of figuring out who these people were, and how that woman got to that room.
SheKnows: Could you love a time traveler?
Audrey Niffenegger: No, I couldn’t do what Clare did, nor would I want to. I am more impatient.
SheKnows: How much of you, if any, is in the character Clare? Are there other characters based on anyone in her life?
Audrey Niffenegger: I gave Clare certain things from my childhood and made her an artist, but as a person she is not especially like me. Some minor characters in TTW are
based loosely on real people, but the main characters are fictional.
SheKnows: Do you miss Henry and Clare? How do you reconcile parting ways with characters you spent years with?
Audrey Niffenegger: I think it might be difficult if no one was reading the book, but my feeling has been that I finished working with the characters in TTW and handed
them over to readers, whose job it is to re-imagine them. I have spent the last seven years with the characters of Her Fearful Symmetry, and I will miss them for a while, but the same process is
about to begin. The readers complete the process of writing.
SheKnows: How did you manage the intricate time scheme of the book?
Audrey Niffenegger: Careful tracking with two timelines, one for Clare and one for the reader/Henry.
SheKnows: How much research did you do for the book?
Audrey Niffenegger: I didn’t research the time periods, but I do read a lot of history. The most helpful time/genetics books were: Cracking the Genome by Kevin
Davies; Time, Love, Memory by Jonathan Weiner; Time Travel by Paul J. Nahin; About Time by Paul Davies.
Up next…Audrey reacts to The Time Traveler’s Wife extraordinary success!