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Choisya
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Re: Questions for Tracy Chevalier : Hertfordshire to North London calling

[ Edited ]
I lived in High Barnet for 30 years before I moved to Herts. My little old cat is in hunting mood too and I found a dead mouse on the lawn the other day so I am now locking her in at night because she has a tendency to bring live mice up to the bathroom:smileysurprised:. I know just how you feel about Tony Blair as I was an LP member for 50 years until he took us into Iraq and then I resigned my membership:smileysad:. I am a still a member of the Fabian Society however and keenly follow all political events as my working background was as a political researcher at the House of Commons, working for the Parliamentary Labour Party - with Wilson, Callaghan, Foot, Kinnock, Smith et al.



TracyC wrote:
Choisya, I am sitting in north London. The garden smells of choisia :smileyhappy: and lilac, and the moon I believe is full. Our cat (a tortoiseshell) keeps coming in and out of my study window; she is in hunting mood. I am answering email and contemplating the fact that Tony Blair has been PM for 10 years. I remembered how elated I felt 10 years ago when Labour got in, and how long 10 years feels, and how much has changed. I hadn't even had the idea for Girl with a Pearl Earring 10 years ago, that's how much has changed for me! And even more for TB, I guess... Sorry, everybody, I'm rambling...

Message Edited by Choisya on 05-02-200702:48 AM

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Choisya
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Re: Questions for Tracy Chevalier

Cookie - I am wondering why there is a link to the Philippa Gregory website with your posts??
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cookie
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Re: Questions for Tracy Chevalier

It's because I'm admin of her board and I had the link in for the discussion on the Boleyn Inheritance.
You are welcome to join !
Send me a pm here so I can look out for you as membership is by approval.
Philippa's message board:
http://www.philippagregory.com/phpbb2/index.php
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Choisya
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Re: Questions for Tracy Chevalier

It's OK - I don't want to join thanks, I was just puzzled:smileyhappy: I didn't join the Boleyn Inheritance because I didn't want to buy the hardback but I enjoyed The Virgin Earth discussion on BNU with Philippa. last year.




cookie wrote:
It's because I'm admin of her board and I had the link in for the discussion on the Boleyn Inheritance.
You are welcome to join !
Send me a pm here so I can look out for you as membership is by approval.


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LizzieAnn
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Re: Questions for Tracy Chevalier

Hi Tracy. I have to tell you how much I enjoyed Burning Bright. It's inspired me to not only learn about William Blake, but to read Songs of Innoncence and Songs of Experience.

I currently just finished Michael Gruber's The Book of Air & Shadows (which also has an English twist - Shakespeare), Harlan Coben's The Woods, Willa Cather's My Antonia, G.E. Mitton's Jane Austen & Her Times: 1775-1817, and Charlaine Harris' Grave Sight. I'm planning on starting Kurt Vonnegut's Breakfast of Champions and Vanora Bennett's Portrait of an Unknown Woman now. I often have at least 2-3 books going at the same time!




TracyC wrote:
Here's a question I have for you (that's all of you in general): what are you reading right now? I mean, apart from Burning Bright! I am just finishing A View of the Harbour by Elizabeth Taylor, and am savoring that delicious feeling of knowing I get to choose another book to read. Love that.


Liz ♥ ♥


Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested. ~ Francis Bacon
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Razzi
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Re: Questions for Tracy Chevalier

Hi Tracy

Why did you decide to use the name Jem? To me, Jem will always be the little boy in To Kill A Mockingbird.

Raz
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TracyC
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Re: Questions for Tracy Chevalier



LizzieAnn wrote:
Hi Tracy. I have to tell you how much I enjoyed Burning Bright. It's inspired me to not only learn about William Blake, but to read Songs of Innoncence and Songs of Experience.

I currently just finished Michael Gruber's The Book of Air & Shadows (which also has an English twist - Shakespeare), Harlan Coben's The Woods, Willa Cather's My Antonia, G.E. Mitton's Jane Austen & Her Times: 1775-1817, and Charlaine Harris' Grave Sight. I'm planning on starting Kurt Vonnegut's Breakfast of Champions and Vanora Bennett's Portrait of an Unknown Woman now. I often have at least 2-3 books going at the same time!




TracyC wrote:
Here's a question I have for you (that's all of you in general): what are you reading right now? I mean, apart from Burning Bright! I am just finishing A View of the Harbour by Elizabeth Taylor, and am savoring that delicious feeling of knowing I get to choose another book to read. Love that.








Hi Liz,

Glad you liked Burning Bright. Wow, that's a lot of books you've got on the go!
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TracyC
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Re: Questions for Tracy Chevalier



Razzi wrote:
Hi Tracy

Why did you decide to use the name Jem? To me, Jem will always be the little boy in To Kill A Mockingbird.

Raz




Hi Razzi--

Funny, I didn't think of To Kill a Mockingbird at all - though I did reread it a few years ago. I chose Jem because when I was doing research for the book that name came up a lot in 18th-century contexts, and I just liked it. I thought it went well with Maggie.
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kiakar
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Re: Questions for Tracy Chevalier

Hi Tracy, You asked what we are reading now besides your book. I am reading Antonia by Willa Cather and The woods by Harlan, and just finished Mansfield Park by Jane Austen. I love to savvar tons of books at one time. I have tons of books everywhere around me. I wonder what it is about books all around that makes you so comfortable.
I like to feel smothered in them. Your books are so divide also.
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TracyC
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Re: Questions for Tracy Chevalier

Thanks, Kiakar. I think books are comforting because they remind us that we are not alone, that our thoughts are all interconnected.
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Razzi
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Re: Questions for Tracy Chevalier

Tracy wrote:
(Hi Razzi--
Funny, I didn't think of To Kill a Mockingbird at all - though I did reread it a few years ago. I chose Jem because when I was doing research for the book that name came up a lot in 18th-century contexts, and I just liked it. I thought it went well with Maggie.)

Hi Tracy
I was curious how you chose the name, so thanks for replying - and I found it interesting that Jem came up in your 18th-century research!

One of the creative writing classes I've taken through B&N talks about character's names and how sometimes just the name depicts the character - The Great Gatsby was used as an example, how Fitzgerald chose the names of the people attending Gatsby's party and how they spoke of "wealthy."

Is this something you find yourself doing as well when creating your characters?
Raz
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TracyC
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Re: Questions for Tracy Chevalier

>One of the creative writing classes I've taken through B&N talks about character's names and how sometimes just the name depicts the character - The Great Gatsby was used as an example, how Fitzgerald chose the names of the people attending Gatsby's party and how they spoke of "wealthy."

>Is this something you find yourself doing as well when creating your characters?

In a way, yes. But it's very subjective. Have you ever talked to a soon-to-be parent about names for their baby? You suggest a perfectly reasonable name like Sophie and they go, "Ew, no, there was a girl in second grade named Sophie and she used to pull my hair. I hate that name!" People have strong feelings about names but they're not the same feelings. For instance, you might think "Jay Gatsby" sounds like a wealthy name, while I think it sounds like a baseball player. OK, a wealthy baseball player!

I do have very strong feelings about what I will name my characters, though. Griet, for instance, the main character in Girl with a Pearl Earring. I came across that name - it's a diminutive of "Margriet" in Dutch, and it just immediately clicked. It was only after the book was published that a Dutch speaker told me that "Margriet" means "pearl." Amazing.

Having said that I choose names carefully, there is one name in Burning Bright that I had no control over. I took part in an auction for a charity, and someone bought the right to have her name used as a character in Burning Bright. At the auction I saw her win but didn't know what her name was. I went up to her to say hello really apprehensively. I mean, this was for a novel set in 18th-century London. What if her name was Magda Brezenska, or Fatima Khan? I asked her name. She said, "Laura Devine," and I said, "Yes, I can work with that!" In the end I think it's the perfect name for a European slack-rope dancer. However, usually I create the character and then name them; this time I had the name first, and created a character to suit the name. "Laura Devine" could never be, say, a laundress. I just have a gut feeling about what name should go with which kind of character.
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Colin Firth

Colin Firth was the perfect choice for the rôle of Johannes Vermeer, wasn't he?


dianearbus wrote:
...the day after I finished reading Girl With a Pearl Earring, I went to see the movie and it was one of the very few times where the image on the screen was so close to what I saw in my head while I was reading it. What did you think of the film?
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Razzi
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Re: Reply to Choisya

Thanks for these great sites - I enjoyed them.
Raz



Choisya wrote:
Hi Ms Chevalier - what a jolly book! I love the old map of the Westminster Bridge district which is in the English hardback edition - how is it there were so many timber yards in the area?

The idea of building the story around the first circus owner is wonderful and adding William Blake to the mix was inspired! Here is a nice website about the Astley Circus:-

http://www.peopleplayuk.org.uk/guided_tours/circus_tour/the_first_circus/amphitheatre.php

I wonder if folks in the US know what Windsor chairs are?:-

http://www.windsorchair.co.uk/windsorchairs.htm

There is good online edition of Songs of Innocence, complete with engravings:-

http://www.gailgastfield.com/innocence/soi.html


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Razzi
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Re: Questions for Tracy Chevalier

Tracy
I enjoyed reading your reply - you've given me a glimpse into your work world and you really seem like a down-to-earth person. I feel like I'm talking to my next-door neighbor!
Raz



TracyC wrote:
>One of the creative writing classes I've taken through B&N talks about character's names and how sometimes just the name depicts the character - The Great Gatsby was used as an example, how Fitzgerald chose the names of the people attending Gatsby's party and how they spoke of "wealthy."

>Is this something you find yourself doing as well when creating your characters?

In a way, yes. But it's very subjective. Have you ever talked to a soon-to-be parent about names for their baby? You suggest a perfectly reasonable name like Sophie and they go, "Ew, no, there was a girl in second grade named Sophie and she used to pull my hair. I hate that name!" People have strong feelings about names but they're not the same feelings. For instance, you might think "Jay Gatsby" sounds like a wealthy name, while I think it sounds like a baseball player. OK, a wealthy baseball player!

I do have very strong feelings about what I will name my characters, though. Griet, for instance, the main character in Girl with a Pearl Earring. I came across that name - it's a diminutive of "Margriet" in Dutch, and it just immediately clicked. It was only after the book was published that a Dutch speaker told me that "Margriet" means "pearl." Amazing.

Having said that I choose names carefully, there is one name in Burning Bright that I had no control over. I took part in an auction for a charity, and someone bought the right to have her name used as a character in Burning Bright. At the auction I saw her win but didn't know what her name was. I went up to her to say hello really apprehensively. I mean, this was for a novel set in 18th-century London. What if her name was Magda Brezenska, or Fatima Khan? I asked her name. She said, "Laura Devine," and I said, "Yes, I can work with that!" In the end I think it's the perfect name for a European slack-rope dancer. However, usually I create the character and then name them; this time I had the name first, and created a character to suit the name. "Laura Devine" could never be, say, a laundress. I just have a gut feeling about what name should go with which kind of character.


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TracyC
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Re: Colin Firth



pmath wrote:
Colin Firth was the perfect choice for the rôle of Johannes Vermeer, wasn't he?


dianearbus wrote:
...the day after I finished reading Girl With a Pearl Earring, I went to see the movie and it was one of the very few times where the image on the screen was so close to what I saw in my head while I was reading it. What did you think of the film?





He was also great to meet in person! :smileywink: I was lucky enough to go on set twice and that was a lot of fun.
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TracyC
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Re: Questions for Tracy Chevalier



Razzi wrote:
Tracy
I enjoyed reading your reply - you've given me a glimpse into your work world and you really seem like a down-to-earth person. I feel like I'm talking to my next-door neighbor!
Raz





That's very funny. I have a neighbor who sits in his window, just as I do, and is a writer too (travel guides mostly), and we studiously ignore each other! I think if we acknowledged each other's presence we would then be stuck doing that every day. Much easier to ignore. So be glad you're many miles away from me!
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TracyC
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Re: Questions for Tracy Chevalier

I just wanted to tell everyone that it's Friday night here and the start of a long weekend in England - we have Monday off, and I'm going away. (Actually I'm going to the Piddle Valley in Dorset!) I will try to answer more questions while I'm down there, but there's only a very slow phone line, and sometimes I despair when it takes sooooooo looooonnnngggg to load a website that I give up. But I will do my best, and if I don't get to everything, I'll answer it Tuesday - though I know that's after the official end. Hope that's ok. Have a good weekend!
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Choisya
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Re: Questions for Tracy Chevalier

Have a good weekend Tracy - I hope you get less of the cold wind down there than we have been having north of London! I hope to spend most of the Bank Holiday in the garden but so far it's been too cold!

I was thinking today that you could have brought Mary Wollstonecraft into BB as another radical who knew Blake well (they shared a publisher too). She would have been a good mentor for Maggie:smileyhappy:. There is lots of meat there for a sequel, with Maggie and Jem taking up radical politics in London, perhaps joining the London Corresponding Society and/or the Unitarians....




TracyC wrote:
I just wanted to tell everyone that it's Friday night here and the start of a long weekend in England - we have Monday off, and I'm going away. (Actually I'm going to the Piddle Valley in Dorset!) I will try to answer more questions while I'm down there, but there's only a very slow phone line, and sometimes I despair when it takes sooooooo looooonnnngggg to load a website that I give up. But I will do my best, and if I don't get to everything, I'll answer it Tuesday - though I know that's after the official end. Hope that's ok. Have a good weekend!


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TracyC
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Re: Questions for Tracy Chevalier

Ah, Mary Wollstonecraft, what a brilliant idea! Too late now, though. And I'm afraid I have no plans for a sequel. The only book of mine I may write a sequel to is Falling Angels. When I originally envisioned that book I thought it would span the years 1901-1918, but in the end I wrote just 1901-1910. However, I know some of what happens to the main characters, and I'd like to continue it. The other books, however, I will end where they end. I mean, who wants Woman with a Pearl Necklace? :smileywink:
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