An interview with Tanis Rideout author of Above All Things
My interview with Tanis Rideout was on The Millions this week. We talked about truth in fiction:TR: Other people would argue that you could write good fiction and stay within the facts. Maybe it takes a better writer than me to do that? Hilary Mantel recently said, “I will make up the thoughts of a man’s heart, but I will not make up the color of his wallpaper.” Her idea with the Cromwell books, Wolf Hall and Bringing Up the Bodies, is that she stuck to what is known.I think that is hugely admirable, but as a fiction writer that isn’t of interest to me. I always assume everything that I read is fiction, even if it’s in the non-fiction section. The very notion of putting something on paper means that you are creating a narrative.TM: Do the true facts behind a story change an experience for a reader?TR: Is reading something “true” more emotionally valid? I don’t see why.Either the story moved you or it didn’t. You went with the author or not. Learning if the facts of a story are true or not after the fact doesn’t need to make a difference to how you were moved.TM: So you changed Mallory’s wallpaper?TR: I changed Mallory’s wallpaper and then some. I renovated his house.*The full interview is available here.