Saturday, May 15, 2010

Isabel Allende

Isabel Allende's new novel is The Island Beneath the Sea. From her Q & A with Alexandra Alter for the Wall Street Journal:

The Wall Street Journal: How did you choose the book's setting?

Ms. Allende: I wasn't even planning it. I had written a novel some time ago, "Zorro." One of the chapters happens in New Orleans, and I went there and researched it several times… I realized much of its character was given 200 years ago by 10,000 refugees who fled what was Haiti. They fled with their white families and their slaves and their concubines of color, and their children. It was an incredible event. It changed the city completely. So when I started to do the research about New Orleans [for the new novel], I needed to know why these people had come, these 10,000 refugees.

How did you research it?

I usually start by reading history, not only about the place but what was happening that time in the world. The French and the American Revolutions determined the time, so that was very important. These slaves were able to fight and defeat the troops of Napoleon, who had conquered Europe. They couldn't conquer the slaves in Haiti.

How do you transition from gathering research to creating a story?

It's a...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue