Charles Chadwick Interview, plus links to author biography, book summaries, excerpts and reviews

Charles Chadwick
© Robin Farquhar-Thompson

Charles Chadwick

An interview with Charles Chadwick

It's All Right Now is your first novel. How long did it take to write and what was your process? Do you feel your work would be less rich or different in some way if you had not maintained a full career?

Beginning in the early 70s, it was written over a period of about 30 years in four installments at about eight year intervals when I began wondering what might have happened to Ripple, what people he had met, how he might have changed. I had no choice but to follow a career. Unlike Ripple's, my life was mainly overseas. We have nothing in common in background or education, nor do any of the characters bear any resemblance to people I've known in real life. The connection between life and work is one I find it very difficult to make. Literature draws as much from literature itself as from life, I think.

The structure of the book is almost a non-structure -- undisciplined but highly effective. Can you discuss how you put this book together? How did you create this informal structure -- one with very little plot -- that perfectly suits the tone and voice of the narrator?

My aim was, very simply, truth to life. Lives do not have structures or plots -- these are mythic artifices. Ripple himself has thoughts about this. See page 671: fiction doesn't have to do justice to real people. He writes about his life as anyone might.

Have there been comparisons between Tom Ripple and other everyman characters? It would seem fair to compare Tom to Walter Mitty or Bartleby the scrivener. Were there any literary creations you looked to when forming Tom Ripple?

I began the book after reading Joseph Heller's Something Happened. The style and perspective of the book are apparent from that, though Ripple soon acquired a life of his own. I'd tried other (mainly third-person) approaches but it was Heller's book that set me off. There have been as many women as men who have liked the book, so I like to think Ripple speaks quite generally for all sorts of people. I tried to broaden his experience and the range of people he met to fill his life as much substance as possible.

Writing about his life is something Tom Ripple finds as a way to make sense of his life and other people's lives. How was your experience of writing this novel the same or different from Tom's?

This is a connection I find it hard to make. The book hasn't helped me to make sense of my life, but in doing it I might have discovered a little about how lives might develop and deepen and be made sense of (or not as the case may be).

You have written four other novels as well as short stories. Will we be seeing any of this work in the near future?

I have now just about finished a further part of the novel covering Ripple's last years. As before, I was curious to know what happened to him next and up to the end. Other work is being looked at.

Unless otherwise stated, this interview was conducted at the time the book was first published, and is reproduced with permission of the publisher. This interview may not be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the copyright holder.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Of Arms and Artists
    Of Arms and Artists
    by Paul Staiti
    In the late eighteenth-century, the United States of America was still an emerging country, ...
  • Book Jacket: So Say the Fallen
    So Say the Fallen
    by Stuart Neville
    Noir crime fiction – Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett anyone? – is an American invention...
  • Book Jacket: The Mothers
    The Mothers
    by Brit Bennett
    Every now and then the publishing industry gushes about a young author destined to become the next ...
Book Discussions
Book Jacket
The Bone Tree
by Greg Iles

An epic trilogy of blood and race, family and justice.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    North of Crazy
    by Neltje

    The remarkable life of a woman who carves her own singular path.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Next
    by Stephanie Gangi

    Fast-paced, wickedly observant, and haunting in the best sense of the word.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Comet Seekers
    by Helen Sedgwick

    A magical, intoxicating debut novel, both intimate and epic.

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win The World of Poldark

Win the book & DVD

Enter to win The World of Poldark and the full first series on DVD.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One S D N M A S

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.


Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!

Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.