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Friday, April 8, 2016

Seeing through characters' eyes

“Good fiction creates empathy. A novel takes you somewhere and asks you to look through the eyes of another person, to live another life.” –  Barbara Kingsolver

I’ve written about the incredible Kingsolver before, but felt I hadn’t said everything I needed to say, and since today is her birthday I thought, why not write some more about her today?

Novelist, essayist and poet, Kingsolver was raised in rural Kentucky and lived briefly in the Congo in her early childhood, creating just more grist for her writing mill and resulting in the bestseller, The Poisonwood Bible.  It’s a book that definitely “puts you into the setting” and gives you a clear understanding of what her living there was all about. 

Back in the States Kingsolver earned degrees in biology at DePauw University and the University of Arizona and worked as a freelance science writer before she began writing novels. Her work often focuses on topics such as social justice, biodiversity and the interaction between humans and their communities and environments. Each of her books published since 1993 has been on the New York Times Best Seller list and I highly recommend each and every one.

She is a great observer of both nature and the human condition and she loves writing about what she sees, making sure writing is an integral part of her day.

“For me, writing time has always been precious, something I wait for and am eager for and make the best use of. That's probably why I get up so early and have writing time in the quiet dawn hours, when no one needs me.  It's a funny thing: people often ask how I discipline myself to write. I can't begin to understand the question. For me, the discipline is turning off the computer and leaving my desk to do something else.”

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