Nominated for the Best Specialist Writer/British Press Award, Carole Cadwalladr has written for newspapers including The Daily Telegraph and lives in the UK. The Family Tree is her first novel. She is currently a features writer for The Observer.
This biography was last updated on 09/19/2010.
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A Discussion with Carole Cadwalladr
This book successfully employs an unusual and complicated structure
while balancing multiple storylines. How did you decide on this particular
mode of conveying the lives of the Monroes? How easy or difficult was it to
maintain the structure as you wrote the book?
I wish I could say that I had some grand design for the novel, but I'd be lying. And the structure, the multiple plot lines, was something that evolved along the way. I started out with two plots the 1970s one and the 1940s one. A few months in, I realized that they weren't hanging together but instead of axing one of them (which would have been by far the most sensible option), I ended up writing a third set in the present day. Juggling these was like undertaking a huge never-ending jigsaw puzzle. As soon as I shifted around one segment, it impacted on all the others .and I spent months cutting and pasting chapters, striking them out, jigging them around, cursing myself for making life so complicated. A year or so into it, I developed intense pangs of jealousy for "simple stories well told" sorts of books: one timeline, one narrator, one perspective. But, at the end of the...
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