Hello, Margaret. I write from Oviedo (Spain) and would love to have you back (and give you another Pince of Asturias Award!). My question is related to the construction of Grace Marks' character in "Alias Grace". She is such a troubled, complex and - I think - intelligent young woman. Yet you let readers discover that for themselves. How did you achieve that? Thanks.
Hello, and thank you! It was so much fun going to Spain, though I had a wardrobe crisis. Grace Marks: because it was an historical event, I tried to find out as much as I could from the records, such as they were: newspaper accounts, journal entries, and letters, mostly. (Was she crazy, or not? Was she the instigator or a victim? Was she smart or stupid? Even: was she tall or short?) As with any mysterious event, reports were conflicting, as were opinions. Four months after the murders, Grace herself was the only person left alive – of the four people who had been in the house – and she never really told. I did not want to choose one opinion or account over another, but to somehow include them all. In novels generally, readers discover things for themselves; that's partly why we like them! The reader, too, is a participant.