Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Claire North

Catherine Webb, a Carnegie Medal-nominated author, is also Claire North, the pseudonymous author of The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August.

From her 2014 Q & A with Charlie Jane Anders at io9:

Why give this book a male protagonist? What makes Harry August such a compelling character to you?

The biggest reason for writing a male protagonist was the history of the 20th century itself. When Harry August is born, women still don't have the vote; by the time he dies, the women's rights movement is a loud voice fighting battles across the world. The change in society in that century is massive, but women were – and are still – discriminated against. Knowing what I do of my own politics, it seemed unlikely that I'd get through the book without being drawn massively into the world of gender politics and the changing battle for women's rights throughout the century, and while this is vitally important and a story that must be told, the story of the kalachakra didn't feel like the right way in which to tell it. Writing a male protagonist, therefore, allowed me to focus on the story of the Cronus Club that seemed most appropriate to the narrative.

Harry's at his most interesting, I think, when he's at his most reflective. He endures some horrendous things, but from the luxury of retrospect looks back on it with a historian's cold dispassion that borders on the inhuman. However this dispassion, in my mind, is nothing more and nothing less than...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue