Slow Going

The Chicago Reader catches up with Audrey Niffenegger, who’ll be getting plenty of attention in the coming months—the film version of her debut novel, The Time Traveler’s Wife, comes out August 14, and her follow-up, Her Fearful Symmetry arrives in September. Niffenegger is a Famous Author now, but the article concentrates on her lovely, less blockbuster work as a visual artist. (If you’re in Chicago at the moment, you can see some of the pages of her illustrated story “The Night Bookmobile” at Printworks Gallery.)

It’s been six years between novels for Niffenegger, and she tells the Reader that her bestseller status had a role in that:

“When I was writing my first novel I was alone with it,” she says. “For my second novel I had the benefit of other people’s expertise”—an agent and editors—”but it can make the work go slower because I . . . question myself more as I go along. I know I will be hearing from readers if I get it wrong.”

How much has it slowed her down? She says that she’s currently 20 pages into her next novel, The Chinchilla Girl in Exile—a work that she’s been writing since at least 2006. She told Writer Unboxed back then, “It’s about a nine-year-old girl who has hypertrichosis, which is a hereditary disorder in which hair grows all over one’s body and face; my character, Lizzie, looks like a junior werewolf. I’m very fond of her, she’s plucky.”

One thought on “Slow Going

  1. I can fully understand what Audrey Niffenegger means when stating how the pressure of her second novel placed her more under the spotlight following the success of her first, which thus slowed her down due to concern of getting things wrong. Writers are generally gentle souls, who can often be filled with self -doubt as do many of the creative types . The pre-conception that practice and experience makes perfect or at least things easier and thus speeds things up, does not take into account the fear of failing to achieve past success. But then, perhaps it’s just an infliction of persons who just want to do their best. Either way I am sure both the writer and readers will reap the benefits.

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