Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Q&A with Christie Watson

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

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