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Happy Birthday, Valerie Martin, born 14 March 1948
- I get material from dreams sometimes – the opening of Property came from a dream. I usually find music for a book to get my brain in a tonality that I see as part of the novel. The music I listened to for Property was very unpleasant, atonal music. Whereas for Trespass it was a Brahms quintet. Some of the Sea Lovers stories are associated with music and songs too, including a great Joan Baez song, Silkie.
- But the ending should also come naturally out of the story. I just try to follow the story. I don’t think about readers, because when you try to please them, that way madness lies. I’m always just trying to write the book I want to read.
- I read everything I could get my hands on. My mother read to us when we were small, and so did my dad. He was a sea captain. We’d get together the books he would take on his next trip.
- I got a lot of rejection, but those years were definitely formative. I kept writing. I was learning a lot about writing a novel just by continuing to write novels.
- I think I’m more conscious of what I fear than I was as a young person – irrationality, territoriality, envy, a desire for revenge. I find all those strong emotions dangerous and scary – so I like to write about them, and then I don’t have to have them.
Valerie Martin is an American novelist and short story writer. Her novel, Property won the prestigious Orange Prize.
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