Ask Emma Donoghue - Tuesday, April 22nd! discussion

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Featured Chat - 2014 > Ask Emma!

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message 1: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Shannon  (cincindypat) Welcome to the group! Emma will be answering questions throughout the day on Tuesday, April 22nd in this thread only. In the meantime if you have a question for the author or just want to introduce yourself feel free to do so in this thread.


message 2: by Lizzie (new)

Lizzie (LizzieRW) | 1 comments Hello my name is Lizzie. My question would be for Emma, I read your book The Sealed Letter last year based on true events. How much research did you do for this book?


message 3: by Carly (new)

Carly Murphy | 1 comments Hi, my name is Carly, and I'm a writer and a big fan of Slammerkin and Room. I wondered if Ms. Donoghue could "talk" a little bit about her character development process.


message 4: by Lynsey (new)

Lynsey (bookgeek92) | 1 comments Hello, my name is Lynsey. Question I have for Emma is what inspires her writing?


message 5: by Yamilé Nadra (new)

Yamilé Nadra Hi everybody. I thank Goodreads, Emma, Cynthia and the rest of the mods for making this event possible, and for inviting me to take part in it.
I'm from Argentina, but I'm lucky to have a good enough level of English to have been able to read and truly enjoy "Room". Although the subject matter is a hard one, I think it was superbly written.
Children's POW in stories always catch my attention (I may read some books with themes I usually don't read if they have this well portrayed child telling the story).
And, Emma, your Jack is just wonderful. Even more so because he's really complex and multilayered.
In my opinion, you deliver one of the best portrayal of children I've ever read (and I've read lots).
You manage to show us a five year old who acts, in a lot of ways, like a boy his age, but he's also quite bright intellectually, and of course has been raised in the most unusual circumstances. It's not only inside Room you get all of this traits of him across, but also through his development after he's outside.
So, the question is: how did Jack come to be? How did you manage to construct his personality (intelligence, speech, thinking) and his perception of reality? How did you manage to make him read so convincingly like a 5 year old and, at the same Maybe you have been asked this question a zillion times, and if that's the case, I apologize in advance.
I'm also sorry for any mistakes in my English. If someone else reads this and notices they don't understand what I'm asking, please tell me and I'll edit the post?
Thanks again and my best,
Yamilé


message 6: by Alicia (new)

Alicia Figueroa | 1 comments Hello my name is Alicia. My question for Emma is, what inspires your books, more specifically what inspired the story behind Room and telling it from Jack's perspective? Thanks!


message 7: by Lori (new)

Lori Cotton | 1 comments Hi Emma,
I read Slammerkin and Room, and I found Room deeply moving. In my book club we wondered whether you felt the same emotions as you were writing, as we did while we were reading it. Are you drawn into the story and characters as much as your audience is? Are you as affected during and after writing it, as we are during and after reading it? Thank you.


message 8: by Dustbin (new)

Dustbin | 1 comments Hiya Emma, after reading Room, the weight of the story sedated me for a good long time. do you feel the same once a story is written or is it all business and into the wine and off to the publisher?


message 9: by Marcos (last edited Apr 08, 2014 06:25PM) (new)

Marcos Tavares (marcostavares) | 1 comments Hello, I'm Marcos from Brazil and would like to know if it's Emma seeks inspiration from their children to write children's protagonists.


message 10: by Lzarrow (new)

Lzarrow | 1 comments I read Room and did not realize how many other books you have written. Thanks to Goodreads I now know. My question is, how did you chose the subject matter and location for your latest book? It seems the polar opposite of Room. Wonder how you chose it and where you come up with your ideas on what to write about. Thanks!


message 11: by Tal (new)

Tal Rivier | 1 comments Emma,
I have more of a statement than a question.
I came from a bad childhood. Not the same story as Jack's, but I love to read books that remind me that I wasn't the only one who had a rough time.... While I'm at a complete loss for words to try to express exactly how I really feel, I just want to assure you how important it is and amazing it is to write things that remind kids who don't have that perfect childhood, that they are not alone...
I wish I knew exactly what to say to tell you how I really feel about your book. I wish I knew how to express to you what it meant to me as I read it.

But, I just wanted to tell you thank you. Thank you so much.


message 12: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca | 1 comments I absolutely loved Room. I have two questions actually. The first is, Room was such an emotional story, did you get emotional while writing it and if so, how do you keep those feelings in check so your plot and characterizations don't suffer? My second question is, would you ever write a sequel to Room? I'd love to know how Jack and Ma are doing and adjusting.


message 13: by Dany (new)

Dany (DanySpike) Hi! I'm Dany from Chile and I wanted to ask Emma: Is there any scene that you wish you had written in Room but only came up with it afterwards? And is there a scene that you wanted to include but didn't make the cut?

Thank you!


message 14: by Kim (new)

Kim Carr | 1 comments I know you may think I am crazy but my favorite name is Emma.Really. My cat of 18 years was Emma. I read Room and loved it. It was so different from my world or yours. Looking forward to your new novel.


message 15: by Leannjade (last edited Apr 08, 2014 06:52PM) (new)

Leannjade (EllJay25) | 1 comments Hi Emma, what prompted you to write Room? Was you aware you would ever write a novel like this one or was it spontaneous?
I loved room, such an incredible story.
LJ


message 16: by Haseeb (new)

Haseeb Ansari | 1 comments My name is Haseeb. I really enjoyed reading Room. It was a very moving and amazing book written from a unique perspective. My question for Emma is "Will you be coming to Austin, TX, for a book signing for Frog Music? I would love to attend and hear your words. Thanks."


message 17: by Dee (new)

Dee | 1 comments I loved Room. You so wonderfully told the story through Jack's eyes. I'm curious how you choose whether to write in present day or from a historical perspective? Many authors seem to choose one or the other. I'm looking forward to reading Frog Music.


message 18: by Kyle (new)

Kyle B | 1 comments Hi Emma,

Very cool of you to do this. I've got two questions for you, feel free to pick whichever you'd prefer to answer - should you wish to pick either!

While reading Astray, I couldn't help but feel immersed in most of the locales you were writing about. Some details may even read like fiction, depending on the reader's knowledge of the area, when in fact they're not (like the lion statue on the QEW). So, what prompted you to make sense of place such a prominent part of your writing?

For a second question, now that you're an adopted Canadian, what do you think of the state of current Canadian fiction?


☯Lilbookworm☮ | 1 comments Hi.
I enjoyed Room so very much, and look forward to reading your other books. Which authors do you like to read?


message 20: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany Wright (beverytender) | 1 comments Hi! I'm Tiffany, I'm a big fan. I'm curious to know what inspired Life Mask?


message 21: by Liam (new)

Liam Cooney | 1 comments Hello there, I'm just wondering if you will be working closely with Director Lenny Abrahamson on the movie "Room". Can't wait to see it!! Loved the book!!


message 22: by Jessie (new)

Jessie | 1 comments How did you come up with the character Jack? Thank you for your writing.


message 23: by Sehrish (new)

Sehrish | 1 comments Emma! i was delighted by the theme of "ROOM"..and i'm very much hoping "Frog music" will be even better=)
Please tell me what inspires you to write in such a unique way.


message 24: by Lucy (new)

Lucy Raby (lucydanielraby) | 1 comments Hi Emma, I enjoyed Sealed Letter and intend to read Frog Music when it comes out. Also to catch up on your other books. which I hadn't been aware of. What I wanted to ask is, what attracts you to a particular story in a particular era? Do you scour newspapers, libraries or museums? Do you always concentrate on stories set in the past? What are your processes for plotting, planning and background research? Do you write a chapter plan before writing the text? How much time do you spend on each phase and how long does it take you to complete a book overall? And finally (sorry, so many questions!) how do you handle the speech vernacular of the day? How important it is to keep it authentic? Thanks


message 25: by Fredette (new)

Fredette | 1 comments Hi Emma. I'm looking forward to reading Frog Music. Of course your books are multi-layered, with wide-ranging themes, but if you could use one adjective to encapsulate each of your books, what would that be?


message 26: by Alisonismail (new)

Alisonismail | 1 comments Hello Emma, my question is about Frog Music which I thought was a wonderful read. I wondered if you considered at any stage writing Blanche from a first person point of view? My feeling is she would have been your classic unreliable narrator, and possible harder to sympathise with...but then, since you wrote in the present tense, maybe 3rd person was the only way to sustain the back-and-forth narrative device that supported the murder mystery theme?
Thanks again for all your brilliant books.


message 27: by Laurel (new)

Laurel | 1 comments A previous comment alluded to the movie version of The Room. I had heard rumors that this novel,was being made into a film. Can you tell us more about the logistics and your role in the adaptation? Are you pleased with the process at this point?


message 28: by Beth (new)

Beth  (techeditor) Hello, Emma. I'm Beth. I look forward to reading FROG MUSIC. As I understand, this is historical fiction, which I enjoy. But I do have a problem with it. That is, I often cannot tell what is fact and what is fiction.

So I'm wondering whether you will have some explanations and, maybe, some pictures of the actual characters and places on your Web site?


message 29: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Furey (SarahFurey) | 1 comments Hi Emma, firstly thank you for writing such wonderful, original novels. I loved your historical fiction but Room blew me away. I'd like to know with regards to the historical fiction (The Sealed Letter, Slammerkin) do you start off with research or do you just start writing??


message 30: by Lauren (last edited Apr 09, 2014 05:46AM) (new)

Lauren Stoolfire Hi Emma, thank you for visiting the group and answering our questions. I'm excited to read Frog Music. I really enjoyed reading Room with it's unique perspective.

What influenced you to write from Jack's perspective rather than Ma's? How different would Room have been if written from Ma's point of view?


message 31: by Linda (new)

Linda (LindaMsPianoBug) Hi Emma: I am Linda in Toronto and loved Room. I have Frog Music and looking forward to reading it soon. I have the same question as Lauren above. I found that Room touched me in a very deep emotional spot.


message 32: by Paula (new)

Paula Phillips | 1 comments Hi Emma, I'm an aspiring writer. I love your novels. My question is about language, choosing just the right word, how you know it's THE one; and voice or cadence. Do you read your work aloud during the writing process? If so, do you change your words based upon the flow? I often recall or stumble across a beautiful word and wonder how I can use it in my next project. Thank you for all the joy and inspiration you bring the book world!


message 33: by Agustina (new)

Agustina Pringganti (tinapringganti) Hi Emma, I read your book, Room. What's your consideration deciding Jack's as the first person point of view? And the second is (maybe this sounds a little bit snobby)... does Room has something to do with postmodernism? I mean, when I read Jack's and Ma's story trapped in a room, I imagined Plato's cave in which people think that the real world is inside and there's no other world outside (like jack's thought). Do you want to quip modernism? Is Room a representation of something?
Thank you :)


message 34: by Elyse (last edited Apr 09, 2014 07:48AM) (new)

Elyse Walters (httpswwwairbnbcomrooms13491122) Room is the first and only book I've read by you. I didn't read it immediately when I first heard about it. It was growing in popularity it seemed to me --yet I kept hearing mixed reviews. The book 'cover' of *Room* was an eye-catcher --(I liked it) --and I saw it everywhere.
I finally got a copy of *ROOM* -- (expecting to 'not' enjoy it) ---then was AMAZED!!!!! Your writing --(the voice of Jack felt like a child's voice) ---UNLIKE TV and MOVIE scripts often having children speaking like adults. .....
AFTER I read *ROOM* ---I read other reviews. I think I gave you 5 stars (should have,if I didn't) ---but I saw a huge range of comments. --
Which had be begin to wonder ----
Do YOU, --as an author read the reviews? If yes, why? If not, why not?
I really hand it to you, and other authors. You do creative work --(the best you can) --- Work you have EVERY right to be proud of --- (of course you want people to read your books and enjoy them) ---
but do authors WANT to hear comments from readers? REALLY? Are they helpful to an author? To you?

Me...I might just go into a *ROOM* --and never come out and read ANY review about myself (good or bad) --lol. Why do you think I have NO interest in writing. YOU guys (authors) --have enough books coming out to keep me busy for a lifetime: JUST trying to read all your many wonderful books! Thank You!


message 35: by Fortuna (new)

Fortuna O. | 1 comments Hello, my name is Fortuna and I absolutely loved loved loved Room! Jack stayed with me for months after I read it, and I would think about some of his lines in my everyday life. Even now, I'm thinking about the dinosaur scene.

Anyways, having fallen in love with Jack, it was a bit distracting having a five year old still breastfeeding. So my question would be why did you want to include this as part of his story? Is there a deeper meaning to it that I am just not getting? Any info would be greatly appreciated!


message 36: by Jakob (new)

Jakob Martin | 1 comments Hi, my name is Jacob. Mrs. Emma Donoghue is one of my favorite writers, so my question would be if you had any tips for a aspiring writer like myself?


message 37: by Venuskitten (new)

Venuskitten | 1 comments Hello Emma
My name is Sue and I am a UK reader.
I really enjoyed reading the superb Room and I am two thirds of the way through your latest novel Frogmusic, which is wonderfully well written and original. I cannot wait to find out what happens, but at the same time, I don't want the book to end, if that makes sense.
I would like to know how you managed to evoke the atmosphere of Frogmusic so evocatively and convincingly? The novel sets the scene so well that it is entirely convincing and I wondered how you set about researching it.
I would like to read more of your work and congratulations on your success to date.


message 38: by Ericka (new)

Ericka Clay (erickaclay) | 1 comments Hi Emma! Based on Room's success (and flat out brilliance), how did you "psych yourself up" to write your next work?


message 39: by Janet (new)

Janet Grant | 1 comments I'm reading Frog Music and was struck by your choice of present tense as well as the way the story keeps circling back on itself. Could you explain what you hoped to achieve by making those choices? Thanks. (I loved Room along with everyone else whose mentioned it.)


message 40: by Debbie (new)

Debbie | 1 comments I have the highest regard for Ms. Donoghue's writing. Many books fade from memory quickly, but The Room has stuck with me vividly. How did you prepare for the writing of Jack's character?


message 41: by Colette (new)

Colette (ColetteAnn) | 1 comments Hi Emma,

I adored Slammerkin and Room and look forward to reading Frog Music.

As a writer is there a particular type of plotline or character that you find difficult to write and if so, how do you unblock yourself to continue on?


message 42: by Nancy (new)

Nancy (NancyAT) | 1 comments Hi Emma! Your "Frog Music" just arrived in our Library today and I'm the first one on the list to read it! Can't wait to start ~ just wanted to thank you for taking us along with you in your novels. "Slammerkin" was such a trip! My Mum and Mum-in-law loved "Room", as did I. Looking forward to reading more of your work.
(My great-grandparents came from Ireland to Dorchester, Ontario in the 1870's, I was born & raised in London, Ontario :))


message 43: by Marie (new)

Marie | 1 comments Hi! You may have gotten this question over and over again, but I just want to know, was the inspiration for Room based from personal experience of hearing family members or close friends who had this similar case? And in choosing the POV, what made you decide that a 5-year old boy's would be the perfect one to use? Thank you!


message 44: by Julie (new)

Julie | 1 comments Hi Emma! When finding the voices of your characters, have you ever had difficulty developing one more than another, or are they very clear to you in the writing process?


message 45: by Laurly (new)

Laurly | 1 comments ¡Hola, Emma! My name is Laurly and I'm from Mexico, I'm really excited for being part of this, I'd to thank you for creating such a great book, I just read ROOM, and It was amazing, it is in my top 5! My question is: how do you know what to write about? I mean just someday you just woke up and say "I guess I will write about a child locked in his room", or how is that? I write, and sometimes I just don't know what to write and it feels so bad. How do you inspire?, Do you have an inspiration routine?. You are amazing! Thank you for creating those words!!


message 46: by Christy Hagen (last edited Apr 10, 2014 08:53AM) (new)

Christy Hagen Clements | 1 comments I'm honored to be a part of this group and thank you for being so generous to share some of your time with your readers! I'm almost finished reading Frog Music and would like to say, first of all that this novel is beautifully researched, right down to Jenny's quotes by Mark Twain, which I find to be brilliant. I also want to thank you for giving us the online link to listen to all of the songs that are featured in your novel. I think art and music offer such a unique and rich addition to literature making it come alive and giving readers an authentic idea of what it was like in various time periods that they did not live through.

What I'm really interested in knowing more about is your character, Blanche. I know this is historical fiction as well as a crime novel (by the way, as lovely as this book has been written, one would have never guessed that you ever needed convincing where a crime novel was concerned!)

Now, Blanche! She is such a complex character without much backstory making it difficult for the reader (this one, at least) to sympathize with her. She has an unfortunate weakness for men which seems to dictate various aspects of her life and despite the confidence that she tries so hard to exude I believe that she genuinely struggles with her self-worth. She gives off such a harsh, matter-of-fact vibe as she is telling Jenny about why her son isn't with her but then a bit of tenderness surfaces in regards to P'tit when she rescues him and when he goes missing after she flees from Arthur and Ernest which reveals a mother's heart underneath Blanche's seemingly cold exterior.

In all of that, I guess my question is how much of Blanche's character was based on historical accuracy and how much of it was your creation?

And if you have time, (honestly, I could chat with you all day) what lead you to stumble upon this unsolved mystery?


message 47: by Marco (new)

Marco Dias I read Room & really enjoyed it. I finished it a week begore the "Ariel Castro kidnappings". I was really sad and shocked when I heard the story, because Room showed, how hard it is to live in a such way/condition. My question to you is "How do you feel when you hear/see things happen over which you wrote? What are your first thoughts, do you feel more connected to it, as you if hadn't write about it?"


message 48: by Yasmin (new)

Yasmin (Yazzy7illi) | 1 comments Hi Emma!! I found Room whilst on holiday with my husband & in-laws in Portugal. I was a little bored as my Portuguese was not as strong as I thought it was and needed something to stimulate my mind and boy did Room do that!! I literally locked myself in my room & only emerged after I had devoured it.

My question is: why did you chose for "Ma" to have a boy? Do you think the story would have been different if it was a little girl?

Thank you for an amazing read and I look forward to reading more of your books!!


message 49: by Maryann (new)

Maryann | 1 comments Hi Emma. I read the room and it took me a while to realize they were prisoners. Really enjoyed the book, even though parts were disturbing. It did make a great point about how a persons surrounding can effect them. I thought you did a great job with the boy and his reactions to entering a high paced society - compared to his room. I am looking forward to reading Frog Music.


message 50: by Gillian (new)

Gillian Hollett | 1 comments I have read both Room and Frog Music, and I very much enjoyed both of them.

My question pertains to Frog Music. I wondered if you could talk about why you presented the idea of sexual orientation as being a question of convenience?

I am not saying I would have preferred it one way or another, but it seems like there is a big voice in society that says sexual orientation is built in to who a person is and this scene in Frog Music seems to say something different.


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