|Christie Watson, photo by Cheryl George|
Christie Watson is the author of the new novel Where Women Are Kings. She also has written the novel Tiny Sunbirds, Far Away, and her work has appeared in a variety of publications, including The Guardian and The Telegraph. In addition to her writing, she has worked as a pediatric nurse. She lives in London.
Q: How did you come up with your character Elijah?
A: I began dreaming of Elijah, and wanted him to be so good, and full of love and hope despite his difficult start in life. Where Women are Kings is a dark novel and despite the darkness I imagined Elijah lighting up a room where he went, whoever he came into contact with, a small boy with a huge heart, and sometimes frightened eyes.
Q: This book deals with many very complex and painful issues. How difficult was it to write about these topics?
A: It was heartbreaking. I was going through a very difficult year in my personal life and coupled with working on the novel I had to try to separate myself from the work. I regularly cried and had to take a long break from writing when the novel was finished. It took a piece of my soul, but as my publisher always explains, a good novel should take a piece of the writer's soul to write.
Q: How did you choose the book's title, and what does it signify to you?
A: I heard about a real story in Nigeria of a woman who became king, and I found the story fascinating. As a novel with feminist themes I wanted to explore that title and I also loved its lyrical nature. I want to find a place where women are kings. I haven't found it yet, but I'm forever hopeful.
Q: Do you know how your novels will end, or do you make many changes as you go along?
A: Most of the time I never have a plan. I make up the characters and let them live. Sometimes they surprise me as though they have a consciousness of their own. But in Elijah's case I knew from day one how it would end. How it had to end.
Q: What are you working on now?
A: I'm working on another novel. I've written many drafts already and am nowhere nearer the truth of it. It's a process! I've also completed recently a short story for an anthology in Norway.
--Interview with Deborah Kalb