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However, there is one portion of it that will be of particular interest to those of you who write fiction. It addresses the writing process and the manner in which Silva relates to his characters. Check out this excerpt:
HH: I’ve got to make the music come up a little bit louder. But you were saying you try not to let the real news get in the way of your writing.
HH: And I think that’s a very interesting insight into the struggle.
HH: Explain that to people.
DS: I wall off my part of the day where I’m involved in my world. And then I come out of that shell briefly, and I live in the real world. And then that’s really, it’s a wonderful thing to inhabit two places. But I really, I roll out of bed, like most writers, I think, I do a lot of writing in my sleep. Graham Greene, I learned a lot of lessons from him. And one of the things he did is always read what he wrote that day right before he went to bed. And then, you know, I just find that when I roll out of bed, I just grab a cup of coffee, and go down and start writing, because that’s always the most productive time, that first hour that you’re awake.
HH: And is that, do you set for yourself a discipline that every single day, or at least Monday through Friday, that’s what you do?
DS: Monk-like, and it is not Monday through Friday. I work seven days a week. I find it very, very difficult to take days off. It’s rather like an actor staying in character on a set, you know. If you come out, it’s just harder to get back in. I find taking even a single day, when I come back and start writing again, that it takes me a little longer to get back into it, so I try to write every day.
HH: Do you know where you’re going to end at the beginning of every novel?
DS: I haven’t the foggiest. Haven’t the foggiest. I know maybe about a third of it, and I don’t want to know anymore than that. I want to bring the characters and the story to life on the page, and then let the characters lead me by the hand to the finish line. And I’ve been working with Gabriel long enough to know that at a certain point, you’ve just got to put the story in his hands, and get out of the way.
HH: Now do you hear the conversation? Or do you write it first and then hear it?
DS: You know, I was, I was, it’s funny you should ask. That’s a great question. I sometimes feel, particularly when Gabriel is with his mentor, Ari Shamron, that I’m just a mere stenographer, and that these characters have so come to life in my head, they’re so part of our family, that you’re just really kind of writing down what they say. It’s not, when you really work on a novel, and you really get that magic, when you get into that clear air, it’s not that you’re making up a story, it’s just that you’re writing down a story that you already know, or you’re remembering a story. I know that sounds kind of weird, but it’s, that’s the point where I like to get to, where you’re just, it’s like the memory of the story is so imprinted in your subconscious that you’re just writing down something that you already know.
HH: You know, there are a couple of recurring places in your books – Shamron’s villa, the waiting room in the airport where Mossad people go to when they return.
HH: And when you, do you see that when you’re writing? That’s a sort of extension of the question I said about do you hear it. Do you see them in those rooms? Do you have a vision?
DS: You bet. You bet. I mean, one of the things that I’m a stickler for, and is a term that we use called point of view, and that every scene has a point of view through the eyes of a character. And sometimes, I’ll go God’s eye and write in a more omniscient point of view. But I generally, in the formula of my novels, we’re really with Gabriel 75-80% of the time. And so I see things through his eyes. And because he’s an artist, he has a very unique vision, and I try to capture that vision. And so he’s very observant about certain kinds of things, and I try to use that to my advantage when I’m writing.
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What do you think? Do you write the book, or do you write the characters and then the characters write the book?