having read the review of Sue Lawson's latest novel Pan's Whisper you people are lucky enough to get an interview with her! any of you who've read my other Sue Lawson Reviews will know just how excited i was to have this oppurtunity.
Hi Sue, welcome to Cherry Banana Split. Make yourself at home. I really loved Pan’s Whisper, as well as all your other books.
Thank you so much for answering me questions: D
Thanks Anna. I’m so glad you enjoyed Pan’s story, and it is lovely to drop in on Cherry Banana Split.
The thing I love most about your books is the characters. They’re so realistic. How do you develop or get to know your characters?
Thank you. I’m thrilled you enjoy the characters. They become like real people for me, which I guess makes me rather strange. I spend most of my planning-time working on characters, creating collages and profiles, so I understand not only who these characters are, but what their motivations are.
I don’t use most of the stuff I gather about my characters, but nothing is wasted. Every detail makes the character more rounded and real for me.
You seem to love dramatic endings; they work really well for you. You build tension to have things ‘explode’ at the right moment, and then reveal everything.
Is there a reason you like this technique or does it just work well for you?
Yeah, I guess I am a bit of a drama queen when it comes to endings. I’m glad they are working for you. I must admit, I like to have an idea – a very rough idea – of how the story will end before I start writing. That way it helps me trickle out information to the end, so the ‘explosions’ aren’t deliberate, but just how my books pan out.
It is hard not to use the ‘dramatic event’ as a cop out to solve the problems or as an excuse for character development?
I guess by knowing where I am headed, I avoid the cop out situation. The development occurs along the way, rather than in that dramatic moment. I think my characters, like Pan, cope with the event because they have grown and changed through the course of the book.
Memories are really important in Pan’s Whisper. Could you have told Pan’s story without using Pan and Morgan’s memories as a story telling device?
I don’t think so. Morgan is as important as Pan, and gives us a much better understanding of Kylie’s character and her issues and so why Pan is as angry and mixed up as she is. Having access to Morgan’s memories as well as Pan’s helps the reader build a more rounded understanding of Pan and of the truth.
I love Hunter and Pan’s friendship, can you tell me a bit more about that?
I’m so glad you enjoyed Hunter and Pan – I love Hunter ( not in an old lady pervy way!) He was initially a bit character, but I realised his experience was integral to Pan facing her truth. His friendship, despite Pan’s efforts to chase him away, sparks the biggest leap of faith for her.
I’ve noticed in life people who have been through trauma and tragedy, even if the events are markedly different, often gravitate and have an intrinsic mutual understanding of each other’s situation. They ‘get’ each other’s situation without having to explain, which is why I decided Hunter could recognize pain and loss in Pan.
Do you use music when you write?
It varies. When I am editing I tend to prefer silence, but when I am writing, I usually have a CD playing, but never one I know really well. (Otherwise I’d become distracted and sing – no Powderfinger, Whitlams, The Police, Queen, or Midnight Oil when I write!) While writing Pan, I listened to ABC Digital radio station, Dig Music, relaxation CDs, the soundtrack from the movie Mongol (LOVE that soundtrack – very intense and emotional!), Pete Murray, and South African street music.
If you could befriend one of your characters who would it be and why? What would you like to do or talk about?
I guess I already have befriended them all. While I am writing and editing, I’m ‘talking’ to them the whole time, about how they would react in certain situations, what cards/clothes/stuff they would buy in shops etc.
I sound crazy I know, but the more I do this, the better I know them and the ‘easier’ it is to write about them and understand their situations. I actually miss my characters when I finish writing!
What’s your favourite Australian kids or YA book?
That is a REALLY tough one. Can I pick more than one? Please??
In no particular order…
Jackie French’s A Rose for the Anzacs, Julia Lawrinson’s Bye Beautiful, David Metzenthen’s Black Water ( And Jarvis 24 and Tiff and The Trout – in fact anything by David.) Cath Crowley’s Graffiti Moon and Karen Tayleur’s Six.
OOOH! most of those are my favourites too.
Thank you so much for having me Anna and for the sensational questions. What a great way to finish off a rewarding and fun blog tour!
thank you Sue for an amazing interview :D