At Tank Magazine, Alexandra Kleeman discusses her second novel, Something New Under the Sun, with Guy Mackinnon-Little, and how shifting between different projects allows her creativity to flow freely. “I’ve learned that my writing thrives in spaces where I can use interruption strategically to move about within the mental space of writing without entirely leaving it,” Kleeman says, “mostly by moving between projects, which allows me to take a breath from one line of thought that has been wrung out in order to focus in on another, unexhausted space.”
In her Shelf Awareness interview, Hilary Mantel admits that Wolf Hall, her recently released Bring Up the Bodies, and the trilogy’s forthcoming conclusion were originally conceived to be one book. That they kept expanding, she says, is “the torment and joy of writing fiction.” Meanwhile, over at The Daily Beast, the English author rounds up her five favorite historical fictions.
The world isn’t exactly wanting for character studies of Captain Ahab, but Chris Power manages to come up with a novel analysis of the character in this essay about the Moby-Dick antagonist. In Power’s telling, Ahab was valuable in part for what he told us about the 20th century — namely, he foreshadowed the dictators and despots to come. You could also read Hester Blum’s contribution to this essay about the best American novels.
It’s a big season for Zadie Smith. While most of us eagerly await the publication of her latest book, NW, the author’s earlier work, On Beauty, is set to become a feature film. Smith’s first book to be dramatized on film was White Teeth, a UK mini-series from 2002 based on her book of the same name. (And available online if you have Hulu Plus.)