Saturday, December 5, 2009

Carla Neggers

Karen Harper interviewed Carla Neggers for ITW's The Big Thrill. Part of the Q & A:

On your website you mention that you "learn about your characters by interacting with them." Can you explain this technique?

I've discovered that I'm not very good at writing up character analyses before I dive into a story. I can do a bit -- the basics, maybe -- but I "see" a character much better after he or she has shown up on the page. I wrote the scene where Sean Cameron follows Hannah Shay up the mountain. Sean, a smoke jumper and businessman in Southern California, is back in the cold and snow of Vermont. He's at the old cellar hole where his father was murdered. Hannah's brother almost died there, and she has her own suspicions about the violence that's struck their small hometown. Putting these two characters together in such an isolated place where both their emotions run strong, in the cold and snow, helped me understand them more than I ever would have sitting in front of a list of questions about them. But writers need to do what works for them. This is what works for me.

Although you've used such far-flung settings as Ireland, Cold River takes place in your home state of Vermont. How much does setting matter to you, or could you have placed this story elsewhere? How do you try to give the reader a sense of place?

For me, setting is...[read on]
Visit Carla Neggers' website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue