I’m interviewed by Jenny Kane – come and join us

What inspired you to write your book?

Like many fiction writers I live slightly on the periphery of reality – I observe it from the sidelines and dip into it for inspiration and ideas, but there is that grey area, that no-man’s land between reality and my writing. I like to speculate in my fiction and to imagine scenarios with which to confront my characters. Those scenarios don’t have to be extreme but they have to create a challenge or a dilemma for my characters to respond to.

Broken is the result of my fascination with the idea of the randomness of life – we are born into a particular set of circumstances which we can’t predict or plan for. It is pure chance whether we end up as orphans somewhere in a war-torn country or find ourselves next in line to the throne of the Kingdom of Sweden. So when I conceived Broken I asked myself this: what if somehow two people’s lives became mixed up through Fate’s mysterious intervention? What if one day they woke up in somebody else’s skin to continue with that stranger’s life as if it was their own? What if that other person’s life was a real mess?

So, I created the characters of Father Joseph and Camilla Bramley-Jones, each of them struggling to overcome bindings and inhibitions which have led them to make bad choices. Then I swopped their places and let them deal with each other’s problems.

Do you model any of your characters after people you know? If so, do these people see themselves in your characters?

I do, and I don’t. I definitely pick up personality traits of the different people I come across in life and on my travels, but I do enjoy mixing and matching them when I construct my fictional characters. Often people will ask me if I based a particular character on them because they will see themselves in that character or will recognize an event in which they were involved. Most of the time, I will plead guilty but only to the lesser charge of being inspired by them rather than to the crime of outright theft of their personality.

Oddly enough, my husband recognizes himself in most of my fictional creations, sometimes to my utter bafflement. I suppose I often absorb people into my writing without realizing I’m doing it.

What type of research did you have to do for your book?

There wasn’t much research involved in writing Broken other than the exploration of human psyche. I read a little about the personality distortions of sociopaths and the differences between sociopaths and fanatics.

I also ventured into the rites and rituals of the Catholic Church as one of my two lead protagonists is a catholic priest.

 Which Point of View do you prefer to write in and why?

I enjoy getting into my characters’ heads and writing from their deepest, innermost perspective. Writing in the first person is tempting because it gives me the chance to fully blend with the character – sort of become the character, rather than just a narrator.

Broken features two protagonists, Father Joseph and Camilla who tell their respective stories in the first person. Allowing them to tell their own stories was useful especially because they are both unreliable narrators with huge gaps in their memories and are confused about their identities. I tried to give them their own distinct voices and mannerisms. I hope it worked.

I avoid writing from the point of view of the omnipresent – omniscient narrator. I find that form a bit dry and impersonal.

Do you prefer to plot your story or just go with the flow?

I plot and I plot, and I plot some more before I start writing. It all happens in my head so for days I come across as an idle procrastinator who does nothing all day apart from pacing in her study and dragging the dog out for lengthy walks. But I work really hard on my plot. Then I start writing and at that point things get slightly out of hand and my diligent plot strays into uncharted territory. It is at this point that I start documenting my storyline in writing. Otherwise, I would lose the plot altogether!

Broken can be puchased by following this link http://viewbook.at/BrokenbyAnnaLegat

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