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Posted by Jonathan

October 29th 2009

Hi, I'm Jonathan Greenfield. I would like to ask you a few questions for my author study in school. What do you think of when you're writing a new book? What part of a book can you relate to your life? What do you think of each of the characters personalities in the Wind on Fire Trilogy?

William Nicholson responded:

Not easy questions to answer. When I start a new book I think about the big emotion at the centre of the book, and about the main characters and what it is they want. This will be what drives the story. As I write, every single part of the book relates to my life. That may sound odd when you think I write fantasy stories, but really they're all about the longings and dramas of real (sort of) people. I can't list my thoughts on all my characters, it would go on for too long. For as long as the books, actually. Everything I think about them is there.

Posted by Roger Wilson

October 28th 2009

The theatre company which I am a repertory actor in will be staging Shadowlands. I am portraying Christopher Riley. In review of Inklings etc. I find no reference to him. Are the friends of Jack composites, made up, pseudonames to avoid issues with family ownership? He seems to be a bit of an agnostic or is he just a pot stirrer and Know it all? What about the others in relationship to Jack and Warnie. thanks. beautifully written...

William Nicholson responded:

All the characters in Shadowlands are made up by me, though of course Lewis and Joy existed. All their dialogue is made up by me. I think you can feel free to develop the character on the page, through your performance, in any way that works for you. He is a fiction. You'll notice that though cynical as you say he ends up being the one of all Jack's friends who understands him at the end. I hope you have fun.

Posted by Will McGregor

October 22nd 2009

Hi William Its Will McGregor the short filmmaker that spoke to you in Guildlford on tuesday. Firstly many thanks for your advice, for a young creative person like myself your words where invaluable. If you have managed to find time for 'Who's Afraid of the Water Sprite?' then I hope you enjoyed it and id love to hear your opinion, its a short fantasy thats doing quite well at the moment, 11 festival nominations in all so far across Europe. On tuesday you spoke greatly about writing from your own interests, which is something i am beginning to learn to utilize. However you have written some of my favorite fantasy books form when i was a child (i loved the Wind Singer) What is the point where by your work can be informed by reality but become authentically fantastical? Is it imagination that relies on experience? Would you be willing to take a look at my script as i develop it and maybe give me some feedback? Many thanks, Will McGregor

William Nicholson responded:

I have seen and enjoyed your short film: impressive, with a clever twist. As for your question: reality and fantasy aren't as different as you might think. For fantasy to have power it must be rooted in a strong sense of something the reader also recognises. The key here is power. Whatever mode of story telling you go for, it has to have power, and that power will come from your own emotional engagement. You have to build your stories out of a passion within you, whether it's longing or rage or love of justice or revenge or whatever. You ask me too look at and comment on your own work,but I'm really sorry, but I just can't take on that role. If I did I would get swamped, and would have no time for my own work. You do need feedback - we all do - but it must come from someone nearer to you. And by the way, that person doesn't need to be professional. Any potential reader/viewer of your work is capable of assessing your work in progress as well as I am. They are after all your audience. (I've edited your question, as you'll note.)

Posted by Niamh

October 20th 2009

Hello, Mr Nicholson. My friend told me about your books and how brilliant they were, so I took an interest in them. I started reading the beginning of the wind singer and I found it fasinating. This may be quite a simple question, but what inspired you to write the books that everyone enjoys today? Thank you for your time.

William Nicholson responded:

Impossible to answer, really. I love to write stories, and the stories that come out of me come from my life and all the things I've learned to love. Try it for yourself, and you'll see how the process of creating a story, particularly a fantasy world story, unleashes all sorts of strange and wonderful stuff within you.

Posted by Digby Stephenson

October 19th 2009

Dear William, Our 3-night run of "Shadowlands" ended in Henfield on Saturday. I can truthfully say that it has been an amazing experience for all of us who worked on the production. Judging by the reaction of many who saw it, they were similarly rattled by the many powerful emotions and questions that the play evinced. At a personal level, I still haven't quite got back to this world, and find myself answering questions, and making comments, the way that Jack would have done. I wish the group in Ilkley every success with their production, but mainly I wanted to thank you for writing such a stunning work about "The gift of Suffering". Put simply, It has been a life-changing experience for me. Digby Stephenson

William Nicholson responded:

I'm thrilled that it went so well. It's one of those plays that really only works if the actors give it their own emotional truth, which is very exhausting. So I'm glad to feel that it gave you something back too.

Posted by Walter Swan

October 17th 2009

Dear William, Me again! My colleague, Yvette Huddleston, and I are directing "Shadowlands" which opens at Ilkley Playhouse on 2nd November. It's going wonderfully well, helped by having splendid actors (of course) in the roles of Jack and Joy. Any last minute words of advice and wisdom from the author to speed us on our way would be hugely welcomed. (And we run for a fortnight, so if you are in Yorkshire in November, we'd love to see you!) We won the Minack trophy this season with "The Crucible" and all the signs are that "Shadowlands" is going to have a similarly powerful impact on audiences.

William Nicholson responded:

No advice or wisdom: I trust you and your actors to pursue truth in performance, which is all any of us can do. I'm afraid I won't be able to come in person, but I'll be there in spirit. How strange to think of the work I did over twenty years ago now coming back to life in others' hands. I hope Yorkshire is still being good to you. Sussex's loss.