Literary Birthday – 29 August – Gillian Rubinstein

Happy Birthday, Gillian Rubinstein, born 29 August 1942.

Gillian Rubinstein also writes under the pseudonym, Lian Hearn.

Quotes from books

  1. The less people think of you, the more they will reveal to you or in your presence.
  2. The painter had achieved what we would all like to do: capture time and make it stand still.
  3. Be strong enough to make your enemy think twice about attacking you, yet not so aggressive that he feels threatened. Keep your sword sheathed as long as you can, but once it is unsheathed, use it without hesitation.
  4. I believe the test of government is the contentment of the people.
  5. I miss the days when I was alone with my characters and no one else knew them except me.

Advice from an interview

  1. I think I like the freedom given by the fantasy framework to look at our society, and the way people react within it. I’m interested above all in character, and how people react to danger or suffering, how they deal with ambition, passion, disappointment and so on.
  2. I usually start with a vision of the novel – suggested by a character or a setting. It often comes in certain colours, and I am very aware of these while I write. Then I will start to get voices that I might choose to tell the story in, and key scenes, relationships between the characters and so on. It’s all rather vague and intuitive. I have a sense of what the finished work is going to be like, but I have little idea of how I am going to get there.
  3. I use big sheets of paper to map out the plot. I have a very spatial imagination, and like to see it all in front of me. I also make maps, plans of buildings and calendars. I do a lot of drafts, and often have to rewrite the ending after the editor has seen the book.
  4. I’ve always thought ideas were like wild birds, the better you treat them the more they come to you. I suppose I’m reluctant to turn any away in case they all take flight.
  5. I am very aware of rhythm and often read my work aloud while I’m writing to check how it sounds. I also visualise every scene, as I think writing should make effortless pictures in the reader’s head. I try to avoid cliches and overwriting.
  6. Our society is so dependent on the written word we should ensure everybody is literate. Apart from that, reading fiction is a way to understand other people’s minds. It teaches us empathy. I’ve always been a reading addict. A good novel is a source of both consolation and enlightenment.

Gillian Rubinstein is an English children’s author of more than 30 books. She is best known for her books written under the pseudonym, Lian Hearn, including the best-selling Tales of the Otori series, which began with Across the Nightingale Floor. The series is set in a fictional island nation resembling feudal Japan.

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 28th August 2017