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In Dark Water

The Ballantine
Publishing Group

August 1998; May 1999

Interview With the Ballantine Reader’s Circle

Page 8



The story is told through many different voices, creating a full and layered story. Which voice came most naturally to you, and which presented the greatest challenge? Why?


Well, I’ve told you about Dorrie’s elusive, secretive nature. I guess Beulah was the easiest; she loves to talk. I wrote only poetry till I was twenty-five, which was always from my point of view. When I shattered into many voices, Beulah’s was the first to emerge. And I feel so honored that she did.


Florence was a difficult character to get inside of. She wasn’t hard to see from the outside. But her internal voice was tough—I really had to let go, because she is so wildly unpredictable. It was like being on a roller coaster. At first, she would just rant and rave and rage in my head. It took a while to get into her body and feel her hand creep across the sheets and reach for the bedside table. And I have to be inside a character’s body before the voice becomes clear. Then I am firmly grounded in place. I can see what they see. Florence lives with so much pain, and to feel that was not easy.


But Michael was the toughest chracter to discover. I don’t think characters get developed as much as discovered.


I was going to ask you about Michael. How do you personally feel about Michael’s decisions regarding Eudora? Do you think he did the best he could given the circumstances?


Yes, he did the best he could. I loved what Sandra Scofield said about the book—that there is a great deal of pain but no villains. And she used the phrase “the unceasing devotion of the father.” Michael, like many fathers in his

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