Goodreads
Goodreads asked Jean Hegland:

Where did you get the idea for your most recent book?

Jean Hegland The spark that started my novel STILL TIME occurred ten summers ago in a campground outside of Ashland, Oregon. Every summer for the past thirty years or so, a large group of my family and friends have gathered there to spend a week hanging out and attending plays at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Late one night about a decade ago, I had finally retreated to my tent to try to catch a little sleep after another full day of swimming, conversation, games, and theater-going. But phrases, lines, and speeches from the performances I had just seen kept weaving through my thoughts. Tossing and turning in my sleeping bag, I became fascinated by the patterns of sound, feeling, and meaning those collages of Shakespeare’s plays were creating in my mind. I began to wonder what it might be like for someone to have the work of William Shakespeare as the only lens left which to try to make sense of the world. How would it be to have those plays as a guide, even as other facts and memories were slipping away?

It was in that moment that John Wilson, a Shakespearean scholar struggling with dementia, was conceived. I spent the next decade learning all I needed to know about John and his world in order to do justice to his story. I read and reread the plays. I immersed myself in 20th century criticism. I sought out productions in local parks as well as in London and Stratford-upon-Avon. I led a weekly poetry reading and writing group at a memory care home. I learned about computer games, I practiced beekeeping, and slowly I was able to conjure John, his beloved fourth wife, Sally, and the gamer daughter, Miranda, from whom he’s long been estranged into being.

About Goodreads Q&A

Ask and answer questions about books!

You can pose questions to the Goodreads community with Reader Q&A, or ask your favorite author a question with Ask the Author.

See Featured Authors Answering Questions

Learn more