Whatever we say about the wizard of words-Terry Pratchett, it won’t be enough. After his death on 12th of March this year (2015) unforgettable quotes from his books overtook the media. We are honoring Sir Terry Pratchett with an excerpt from his last interview, about one of his current book titles- “Dodger”. Tasha Robinson from A.V. Club meets with the British knight-bachelor, and we want to remind you of some of his words, that have already remained in history.
How do you create your stories? Do the characters come before the script?
In fact, the characters are the scenario itself. What they do and the things that happen to them create the scenario. You cannot separate one another, really. In fact, the other day, I was sitting with my agent, and he asked: “Tell me about your month, how is your work going?”. It was like I was facing my teacher, and I started to stutter my response: “It was good, and I know how it goes because that one, and then that one … and a little more there … which I think is important … is now even more important… and then the gentleman will help him do that and…”. You see, it’s all in your head, but the thing is that I have to make a lot of changes, and at the end it does not look like it sounds. My wife claims that I invent the story in my dreams.
Was there a preparation process before you wrote Dodger? Did you read Charles Dickens or any of your other inspirations before that?
Good question. In my teens I read every copy of “Punch Magazine”. Every English writer at some point wrote for Punch. I adored Jerome K. Jerome. I was very impressed when I read an excerpt from Mark Twain in “Punch”, and I realized that, despite their different geographic location, these two writers have the same laconic utterance that the “Human race is a devilish stupid, but with very interesting attitude.” They spoke in the same voice. When you are young and you notice such a thing, it is really a great thing. I was inspired about Dodger’s Victorian era, by “Punch Magazine”.
The initial material is quite dark, but “Dodger” ends up to be quite a romantic story.
Not so romantic. Do not forget that my romantic hero actually has to deal with a dead body.
Do you write differently when writing for youngsters and for adults?
I was surprised that both of my editors gave me thumbs up for most of “Dodger”, saying: “Today’s kids know a lot about vampires and all sorts of things.” They are not the children I know from my own childhood. You are allowed to take the readers into the dark, but then you have to let them go out again.
Adult books follow the same pattern. Your main character really fights for his victory, often in the darkness, but he always succeeds.
Well, I guess I’m just such type of man.
Are you hoping to see a movie made by the scenario of “Dodger”?
People always have hopes and desires. And now we have our own production company. We can do something about it.
The Alzheimer you have and your protection of everyone’s right to choose when to die is the focus of most media when they talk about you. Are you worried that this may overshadow your writing?
At first I was very annoyed. Everything is very feverish, and I’m tired of it. As I say, most of my problems are from the fact that I am 65 years old. Sure, when you read my last 8 books written with my illness, you will hardly notice that I have it. They are all bestsellers. PCA is a different type of Alzheimer which is much slower. First I lost the ability to write on computer. You expect your fingers to keep moving, to know what they are doing, but they don’t. I know a lot of people with PCA older than me, who are still doing well. There’s a going back sometimes, but it’s no different than your grandfather’s question: “Where did I leave my shoes?” It’s not like sitting in the middle of the street and not knowing where the hell you are or something like that.
Do you feel sorry you’ve made this public?
Absolutely not. Apart from everything else, I must say that even though I am ashamed of it, my popularity grew enormously. I was the man on the TV. I’ve never been so popular before. Sales grew and grew. If I make money from it, I will give them for charity.
If you can choose what to leave to the others, what will it be? “He was a tireless advocate of people who want to die and change the world for them!” Or: “He was really a great writer?”
I will choose the great writer. Although I do not think of myself that way. I know I do have a style and it’s recognizable. I think you can see Terry Pratchett in every book I wrote. I like to do it. I was a journalist before, and I still think of myself as a journalist – to tell the truth. I even wrote a book about this, called “The Truth”.