My interview with Keith Scriber (author of The Oregon Experiment) posted today at The Nervous Breakdown. Keith is the kind of author that I love to interview: available, gracious, thoughtful, funny, and, interested in me as a person. (Sometimes, in this job, we don't even get a thanks.) Keith had some amazing insights about character and also what he calls "The heart in conflict with itself."

Here's a peek:

As I held my first child while watching the WTO protests, that internal conflict I felt--what Faulkner calls “the heart in conflict with itself”--was the beginning of Scanlon (the protagonist of The Oregon Experiment), and I think it’s where the most interesting (changeable, thoughtful, volatile, vulnerable, stubborn, complicated, deluded, passionate, principled, surprising) characters always begin. Whether that original conflict is one that I recognize in myself or in someone else (or one purely imagined), the characters always develop surprisingly, so yes, the separation is inevitable. They meet challenges and rewards, they are stressed and influenced by experiences that come about through the narrative, and only then do I come to know how they’re evolving. By the time I’ve finished a novel, the characters are as real to me as many of my…well, maybe not friends, but surely acquaintances. And I’d say the same about the great fictional characters: Raskolnikov, Holden Caulfield, and Kent Haruf’s McPheron brothers are as alive in me as some people I encounter regularly.
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