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Q&A with author of ‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’ August 9, 2009

Posted by Diana McCabe in Authors.
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THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE opens this week!! Will the movie be as good as the book? Already there’s talk that the ending has been changed, (CLICK HERE to read more) but I guess we won’t really know until we see it. film_poster

Usually I do my own interviews with authors, but I came across this nice Q&A conducted by Veronica Bond in 2003 from the Web site Bookslut with Audrey Niffenegger, author of THE TIME TRAVELER’s WIFE. Here are a few excerpts. (I’ve posted the link to the original interview below):

The Time Traveler’s Wife focuses on one relationship, that of Henry and Clare, as both it, and Henry, flow through time. When Clare first meets Henry she is six years old and he has traveled back thirty years to meet her. Set in Chicago, the story goes beyond the typical love ballad to become a story about living in the moment and enjoying people as they come and go through life. I sat down with Audrey Niffenegger, the book’s author, at Ann Sathers to discuss her characters, the city, and the creation of books.

Q. Did you intend for it to be a classic love story? Did you set out to write it that way? There was lot of making real the metaphors that we use about love. Like waiting for someone that you love and knowing that you’re going to be with them. From very young Clare knows that she’s going to end up with Henry and because he’s seen it happen and she has his word. It was very subtle. That brought it away from seeming like a really big love story, even though it was.



A. I was working backward, so the initial image — we probably shouldn’t say what that is in case people haven’t read it for themselves — that was the central image to the book and so everything was working to get to that. At the time that I started writing the book I had been though some really unhappy relationships and I said to myself, “Enough of that… I will just write a book… to heck with these real people.” But also, my parents’ marriage — my parents are still married — my father used to travel all the time and in any given week he’d be gone four days and so, as kids, there was my mother trying to cope on her own. And then my grandparents, my mother’s parents, my grandfather died quite young. That’s actually who the book’s dedicated to. One day he had a headache and three days later he was dead. So it was this idea that you can’t depend on people to be there, that you can’t predict anything. There’s probably a certain amount of wishful thinking invested in those characters.

Q. How did you manage the timeline at all? I noticed that in the beginning that the way it was set up they get closer to each other in age.

TimeTravellersWifeA. I have it at home on my computer — there’s two of them. One is Clare’s timeline. The other one is the order that things are happening in the book and where Henry’s coming from so I can see what he would know at any given time. What I was mainly working with was who knew what when. So, if I needed a Henry who didn’t have a lot of information I would a put a younger Henry in. I’ll be interested in about ten years to read it and have a lot better ideas of how to do it. For now that was kind of the best I could do.

Q. Did you ever want to have Henry change things in the past? Was it hard to keep him from doing that?

A. It was actually much easier to write with limitations. A character that could do anything, they could just make everything okay all the time, and then there would be no plot. It was actually really helpful that he couldn’t change anything. And then my worldview is actually fairly dark. The idea that you can’t change things coincides with the way I wrote the book.

Q. Was it ever difficult deciding on the ending?

A. The original thing I had in mind was for Clare to pretty much lose her mind and to be completely incapacitated, but the more I wrote the more I thought, Clare is really a pretty sensible person and she probably wouldn’t do that. People have said to me, oh they’re both so beautiful and rich and happy, I can’t stand it, and I said, they are?

Read more: And there is a lot more, so  CLICK HERE for the original entry at Bookslut.


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