Eleanor Fitzsimmons © 7 March 2013.
Posted on writing.ie
“I start the novel with this fictional documentary based very much on the stories told by the Belarusian journalist Svetlana Alexievich (in her book Voices from Chernobyl) using testimony from people, especially women but some men also, firemen and soldiers, who had been involved in the Chernobyl catastrophe. One story in particular is told by a woman about her fireman husband. I base my fictional documentary on it because it is one of the most moving stories about love I have ever read.”
Lucy describes the difficulty of inventing memoir in a way that makes it truly authentic and credible.
“I had to do such meticulous research. I used a brilliant website that I credit in the book, CAIN (Conflict Archive on the Internet) and using this I was able to check what was actually happening on any given day in Northern Ireland. For instance when Lara travels to Belfast as a little girl I was able to check what the weather was like on that actual day.”
Was it important to be that accurate, I wonder? As this is a novel surely she could have simply made it up? Was it necessary for her to incorporate that level of accuracy?
“It was important as it had to be as close to memoir as possible. It was important for this book and for this character as she is so concerned with the difference between something being true and being untrue, fact and fiction and recovering the truth and how memories come to you suddenly out of the blue and how you don’t narrate your own story in a seamless telling of it.” (read the full interview)