Yesterday morning I had the chance to listen to Henning Mankell on NPR’s Morning Edition. His latest novel doesn’t have his famous character, Inspector Kurt Wallander, in it. In fact, it’s mostly populated by women characters. Mankell read the opening scene. It is a desolate landscape and put a chill down this listener’s spine.
It was really interesting to hear him discuss his next piece of fiction. Based on a true story, the main character is a Swedish woman who travels to Africa and becomes an owner of a brothel. But that’s all he would say.
It’s not uncommon to talk about the premise of a novel only to lose the steam and enthusiasm for it. Even worse is to talk about it and let the unenthusiastic response of your listener discourage it from being written. What comes across well in the execution is usually missing from the verbal premise of it. Nick Hornby almost talked himself out of writing High Fidelity when he realized how boring it sounded.