Most writers are shy people. They shrink away from public functions, they frantically back away from any attempt to honour them and they detest being in the spotlight. I feel this way too and would rather skulk in the shadows than feel a hundred eyes on me.
And yet, I have realised that some of these interactions are good for the writer. Any public occasion that allows the writer to talk about her book should be seriously considered. And this is not because it will benefit the readers or inspire countless others to pick up a copy of her book and read it. I think every writer should talk about her books because they benefit the most important person involved- her.
As creators of these books, we live with them from the moment of their birth. We know the exact minute when the idea was born in our heads, we can rattle of all the changes we have incorporated into the narrative, all the challenges we have faced in writing the books. But, when you set out to publish a book you set out on a really long journey. It is exhilarating, it is wonderfully stimulating and if done right, it is eventually rewarding. By the time we are at the end of the journey and the book has been published, several of these important details have grown fuzzy or even been forgotten.
Talking about your book allows you to remember these. And these are details that help you remember how you plotted the story, how you overcame a sag in the middle, the research that went into writing. Talking about the book also helps you recall the larger thought, the message (for want of a better word) in the story.
On the few occasions when I was asked questions about my writing and my books, I ended up looking closely at something that familiarity has caused me to take for granted. I examined the way ideas came to me and it made me pause and appreciate the sheer magic of the process. In discussing the way my characters were born and why they behave the way they do, I felt a sudden rush of affection, understanding and appreciation for them. Essentially, talking about my books and the writing process introduced me to my work and process. And this filled me with a huge appreciation of what I was doing, how I was doing it and also how fortunate I was to be doing it. It made me stop taking my work for granted, so my books surprised and delighted me.
In a world where very few occasions allow you to do that for yourself, I think these should be embraced.
And that’s why I think writers should talk about their books!