An evening with author Emma Donoghue


Emma Donoghue – Borders, Oak Brook, IL

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I apologize for the incredibly poor quality – not to mention miniscule size – of the pictures of Emma. I only had my iPhone, because you may remember my REAL camera died a quiet death, slipping away unexpectedly.


I don't think I can forgive her for one thing, though. It took her just SIX MONTHS to write Room. And staying at a French vacation home, at that, with a nanny watching her children. But the nanny had been diagnosed with breast cancer just previous to Emma's arrival. She watched the children in the morning and went for chemo in the afternoon. Unimaginable.

Comparatively, Room was an easy book for her to write. There were three drafts, but only very small corrections from draft to draft. She also sketched out the room, placing everything within the 11' x 11' cork-lined room. Before she wrote the book she spent a couple of months researching, then the book seemed to have written itself.

She has ideas for her next three books, and has started some research. That way, if she hits a wall with one book she can just move onto the next.

And being a playwright as well, she described the huge differences between the genres. Writing plays is a collaborative effort, involving re-writing as the acting process shows little problems requiring tweaks on her part. Sounds as though she loves the process, despite the obvious slowness.

Growing up she loved reading fairy tales, and of course she's written at least one volume of those. She enjoyed the Narnia books, Jane Austen and Agatha Christie as well. But she refused to comment on which contemporary authors she loves, saying there are far too many. No doubt! I hate that question, too.

I asked her how she felt about her Booker Prize nomination. She said she was shocked, because "It's just a book about a little boy!" I wished her luck.

Despite the hassles getting there and back, taking expressway loops around and around Borders before eventually giving up on the GPS and getting there myself (!), it was well worth it. They're having Sara Gruen (Like Water for Elephants – another book that depressed me no end) in October, and I may just head back over for that. We'll see how long it takes me to recover.

3 thoughts on “An evening with author Emma Donoghue

  1. Jealous! Of the fact that you got to see her and the fact that it took such a short amount of time for her to write this book. Scandal!


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