Questions from Germany, Answers from Emilie
My public relations trip to Germany is over, but the questions keep arriving. I answered these today for a major German newspaper, and it occurred to me that you might find the answers interesting, as well. Maybe you’ve wondered about some of these subjects yourself. As always, I’ll enjoy your comments.
1. Are you surprised about how successful the Emilie Richards movies are in Germany?
I think it’s delightful that they’re doing well. I never anticipated this, but movies based on any novel rise or fall on how well they are adapted for the screen and how well they are produced. I have faith in the producers and the network and know that all of us share common goals.
2. Do you find the spirit of your books well portrayed in the movies or are the differences very big?
To be honest, some of the movies are quite different, but some are surprisingly faithful to both the story and the theme of the novel. You can imagine that like any author, I’m happiest when the story on the screen matches the story that was in my head and heart. At the same time, though, I know that I was writing to be “read” and the movies are to be “watched.” I know this means that changes have to be made.
3. How are the movies different?
While the first movie Polyphon International made was from a novel I actually set in New Zealand, the rest of my novels have been set in other places, primarily the United States as well as some in Australia. So by changing the setting, other things must change to match, of course. Too, my novels are often filled with suspense and conflict that doesn’t always make it to the screen.
4. The viewers love those movies, but the critics are a bit reserved almost taunting towards the romantic genre. Does this surprise or hurt you?
Sad, but true, but I’m neither surprised nor hurt. Some critics seem to believe that positive characters and resolutions are impossible in real life, when, of course, all evidence points to the contrary. I find it interesting that anyone believes portraying people in heroic ways is new to the romance genre, when in truth, we as human beings have been telling stories about people triumphing over their circumstances since we developed the power of speech. There’s a place for gritty realism, and a place for uplifting stories that give people the strength and optimism to tackle the problems in their lives and move forward. I choose to write the latter.
5. You are always defending the Happy End, which always comes at the end of your stories. Is there any possibility that you will ever write a book without a Happy End?
Many, many plot threads intertwine in my novels, and not all of them end positively. I don’t think in terms of “happy endings,” but in resolving the conflicts I’ve set up. Sometimes those conflicts aren’t resolved in traditional or positive ways, and sometimes they are. But I will never write a novel that makes my reader feel worse about the world once they’ve finished the last page.
6. You say that places and landscapes inspire you. Where would you love to travel to to seek more inspiration?
Quite honestly I find inspiration everywhere. Exotic settings are wonderful, but only if they say something important about the world of my characters and who they are. I really have to feel I understand a place to write about it, which doesn’t happen on a brief holiday. I like to make setting a “character” in my novel, as important as any character who walks through the pages, and just as defining of the story.
7. Could Germany ever be a place of inspiration for you?
That’s a wonderful question. Inspiration, yes. But in order for me to think I had even a small grasp of what it’s like to live in Germany, I would need to live there myself for some months–and learn the language. Even then, I truly doubt I could do it justice. Still, I can be inspired by the people I talk to when I visit, the scenery, and the culture. I think we’re always richer for having traveled and tried to absorb the world other people live in. I hope I always carry that back with me and into the novels I write.
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