Well I'm not sure how we've managed this given that Jude Morgan doesn't 'do' e mail, but we have persuaded this most reticent of writers to sit in the armchair for just a few minutes to offer us some insights into the book that took my breath away yesterday, The Taste of Sorrow. I'm very grateful to Jude for responding so gamely because this insatiable reader just had to know.
Jude, I have been completely steam-rollered by The Taste of Sorrow, I can't stop thinking about it and yet
I thought I knew my Brontes inside out. Can you tell us just how you've managed
this? The process of taking something familiar to many but making it so
refreshingly new and vibrant?
The answer to this is, with great difficulty!
It was precisely that question of the familiarity of the Brontes’ lives that posed the challenge in writing a novel about them. Part of the answer was perhaps to go back to sources, try to forget what I knew (or thought I knew) about them and study their lives as if it was an entirely new experience – above all, trying to clear away the legend and myth that has grown up about them. My own conviction about the Brontes was that they were not these fey ‘children of the moors’ who somehow happened to write great novels. They were very driven, very conscious as artists. In terms of narrative style I wanted above all not to try and reproduce a nineteenth-century style – you can’t compete with the Brontes! – but to give a contemporary feel without any anachronism. And above all to strive for empathy, to subsume yourself as a writer in the consciousness of these living characters.
I'm really sorry but we are desperately inquisitive here at dovegreyreader
scribbles, can you tell us about your writing day, must the dog be walked and
the dripping tap sorted first, computer or pen (biro, fountain, fancy ink...we
need to know), Balzacian white robe and lashings of black coffee, dedicated
writing space, desk, view from window, special writing jumper (you'd be
surprised what writers have revealed to us and please don't worry, we won't
My writing day is more likely to be a writing night or small hours, with a lively five year old at home, other work, teaching etc. And I’ve developed the habit of writing draft in a notebook whenever possible – college coffee break, on the train…But I have a nice traditional book-lined study when I can get to it, and there writing straight on to the computer is the norm. Classical music on headphones sometimes.
3. Who and which books must we read, who are the greatest writing influences on
Hilary Mantel is my favourite contemporary author and her
The prize draw for three copies of The Taste of Sorrow is still open here.