Interview with Colette Freedman
Colette- what was the inspiration for The Affair?
I like telling stories about extraordinary events happening to ordinary people and affairs are extraordinary events happening to ordinary people. There are extraordinary consequences to the participants of an affair when it is discovered; yet, the actual events of an affair are completely ordinary. We all know people who have been involved in affairs or have survived an affair. And an affair is about people – and people fascinate me.
How long did The Affair take to write?
I did a lot of research first, but the actual writing took about one year.
Are any of the characters in The Affair based on people you know in real life? Or are they created from your imagination?
I think ever writer creates characters based off people they know, but in this book, I was very careful not to include anyone I knew. Everyone in The Affair comes from my imagination. However, I should add that my mother is fairly convinced that she is personified in many of my characters. She is only half right!
If The Affair was made into a movie- do you have a dream cast?
My dream cast changes weekly. I just saw the play version of the novel done in Italy and it made me rethink my casting options … although it’s pretty hard to go wrong with Colin Firth as Robert.
Colette, The Affair is a type of book that could be, in the wrong hands, boring. I’ll freely admit that at first I was worried about reading a he said/she said book. However, with the way you wrote about the wife, husband and the mistress- it made the topic understandable, interesting. How hard was it to get the voice right for the characters in The Affair?
I think it’s important to tell stories from different character’s perspectives. Agreed, there are a lot of he said/she said stories. But the rarer story is the he said/she said/she said. I’ve met a lot of people involved in affairs and have listened to their differing perspectives of the same events. No one sees the same events in the same way. We are all unreliable witnesses. Once I had Kathy, the wife’s voice clear in my head, then Robert’s voice was fairly straightforward. Stephanie, the mistress, was the most challenging because, in many ways she is Kathy. The statistics show that men often have affairs with women who look like their wives (or their mothers!)
After writing The Affair and hearing people’s reactions to the book- is there anything you wished you had changed?
No, this is one of the few books I am really happy with and it came out more or less as I imagined it. There are bits of rough writing I’d like to polish, but that’s true of every book. As a writer, you always wish you had changed things as most of writing is rewriting; yet, I also know when it’s time to move on to the next project. Sometimes knowing when to put down the pen is as important as knowing when to pick it up.
What are you working on next, Colette? Can you give us any hints?
The sequel to The Affair called The Consequences. It takes place ten minutes after The Affair has ended. I’m also working on a novelization of my play Sister Cities.
*Special thanks to Colette Freedman for answering questions!
To read Traveling With T’s review of The Affair, visit HERE.