An interview with Eowyn Ivey
The Standley Lake Library book group will discuss Eowyn Ivey’s debut novel The Snow Child on December 13 at 6:30 p.m.
The New York Times bestseller is a novel about the magic and mystery of a child made out of snow, and how she changes the lives of Jack and Mabel, homesteaders in the Alaskan wilderness.
We recently had the chance to ask Eowyn some questions about her novel:
JCPL: What can you tell us about your writing process? How did you go about writing The Snow Child? Would you do the same for your next project?
EI: We had a new baby in the house when I was writing The Snow Child, and my husband and I were both working, so I was left with a sliver of time after both our daughters went to bed. I would retreat to the walk-in closet that I had converted into an office and write for an hour or two each night. My mom is a poet and we arranged to share our work each week -- I would give her a new chapter, and she would give me a new poem. Because these were first drafts, we mostly gave positive feedback to each other keep the momentum going. As for my next novel, I am trying to spend time here and there working on it, but my schedule is very different now with book publicity and travel. The basic approach remains the same, however -- I have to carve out that time and just write.
JCPL: Do you think people have taken meanings from The Snow Child that you didn't put there?
EI: Definitely. But that's one of the wonderful aspects of novels. We all bring our own experience and knowledge to the page when we read. In some cases, readers have shed light on interpretations of the story that I was not consciously aware of as I wrote, but were perhaps part of my subconscious process. In other situations, readers take away meanings that I don't necessarily agree with, but that doesn't mean they are wrong. A writer is only half of the process. And I love to think that readers can discuss and find new meaning in my story.
JCPL: What is your favorite "guilty pleasure" book to read?
EI: Stephen King. And the only reason his books are a "guilty pleasure" is because I become so absorbed by his storytelling that I can do nothing but read. I started Under the Dome one evening, and then spent the entire next day reading it. When my husband came home, I said "Sorry, can't fix dinner or help with the kids" and pointed at the book. I finished it that night. Typically when I read my favorite authors, like Cormac McCarthy, Louise Erdrich, Toni Morrison or Annie Proulx, I savor their work over a week or so. But Stephen King is my excuse to devour 1,000 pages in a day.
JCPL: Is there anything else you'd like to share with our readers?
EI: Just to say thank you. I have been touched by the emails and letters I've received, and am so grateful to the book clubs, librarians, and booksellers who have helped spread word about the book.