Douglas Kennedy is the author of eleven novels, including the international bestseller Leaving the World and The Moment. His most recent novel is Five Days (2013). His work has been translated into 22 languages, and in 2007 he received the French decoration of Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. He has two children and now divides his time between London, Paris, Berlin and Maine.
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Douglas Kennedy discusses life, love, the possibility of change and his novel Five Days
So let's begin with that most obvious of opening questions: How did Five Days start forming in your imagination?
I would love to report that there was that ecstatic moment of instant inspiration when the proverbial electric lightbulb was illuminated over my head and the entire novel fell into place in a matter of moments. But if there is one thing I know after writing eleven novels (besides the fact that it never gets easier), it's the fact that inspiration is such a gradual and disparately ordered business. And in the case of Five Days, an image kickstarted the imaginative process.
The image was one that I saw before boarding a transatlantic flight to London in January 2011. I was heading to the security checkpoint at Logan Airport in Boston and passed a woman standing alone by the barrier. She was in her early forties, diminutive, attractive in a reserved sort of way, the sort of austerely beautiful New England woman who, in the 1880s, would have been the subject of a John Singer Sargent portrait. But what caught my attention was the fact that her face was awash in tears. Something immensely ...
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