Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Sarah Waters

The Vancouver International Writer's & Readers Festival was in town last week and I was lucky enough to get to sit in on a conversation with Sarah Waters. If you don't know Sarah Waters by name, you've surely seen or heard of her lezzie novels--Tipping the Velvet (her debut) and Fingersmith--which were beautifully adapted to the screen by the BBC.

The British period fiction master was in town for the festival and she spoke to Bill Richardson in front of a crowd of about 300, most of whom like tipping the velvet themselves. The event was called "Still Waters," but, Waters joked to the crowd, has been to many of these and they've always got creative titles: Troubled Waters, Steamy Water, Muddy Waters.

After Waters was done talking about her new novel, The Little Stranger--a story full of ghosts, gothic horror, poltergeists, female hysteria--they opened it up to the crowd. I stood and asked Waters a question about something I'm personally struggling with as a writer. I'm beginning my second novel (more on my first novel soon), so I asked her: How do you decide on POV (point of view)?

It was an amazing answer which pretty much boiled down to: it's an organic process and you must follow your intuition. Waters said she just begins a story and it becomes obvious to her who needs to be telling it.

There was no videoing allowed so I was only able to capture still shots. I did find a video online of an interview she did at the Brighton Festival below. She was a great inspiration and very gracious and sweet. Go buy her books! Support our fellow sisters!