Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Charles Tan Interviews Sarah Monette

What do you think will readers find most appealing in The Bone Key?

Well, I think it depends on the reader. Many readers find Booth an extremely appealing and sympathetic protagonist; others enjoy the prose style or the ghost stories just as ghost stories. I know that for me, what keeps me writing stories about Booth is the combination of this very articulate but shy and fearful narrator with the kind of classic ghost stories that I can maneuver him into.

In the collection, the story is narrated from the point of view of Booth. When you wrote the first Booth story, did you know it'll lead you to all these different stories?

No, I had no idea. I expected "Bringing Helena Back" to be a one-off experiment. But then I had an idea for another story about the same character, and then another . . . and well, now there are twelve of them (all either published or in press), and I'm working on the thirteenth, fourteenth, and maybe fifteenth.

How have the authors M.R. James and H.P. Lovecraft influenced your work and how did you make your own fiction distinct from theirs?

I love both James and Lovecraft quite madly, Lovecraft for the sheer lush lunacy of his imagination, James for his ability to write highly intellectual, sesquipedalian, decorous prose which nevertheless scares the living daylights out of the reader. I love the way they work by indirection and implication: that they can scare you without wading through blood up to their knees. Where I differ from them, the reason that my stories are more than just pastiches, is that I'm interested in the psychology of haunting--and the psychology of my poor hapless characters. So there's another layer to my stories that mostly Lovecraft and James weren't interested in.

Our fundraising anthology, Jack Haringa Must Die! is now available. Price: $10

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