The unexpected news: Today, NPR News airs an exclusive broadcast interview with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Anne Tyler. The famously private writer of such novels as Breathing Lessons and The Accidental Tourist gives arts correspondent Lynn Neary a rare face-to-face opportunity to talk about her craft and career. The conversation airs on Morning Edition and is also available online at npr.org, along with an exclusive excerpt from Tyler’s latest novel, The Beginner’s Goodbye, and a visual tour of Baltimore locations featured in her books.
A week ahead of the release of her 20th novel, Tyler walks around her neighborhood while discussing her life, writing and adopted hometown of Baltimore where most of her novels are set. Tyler gives Neary insight into why she often lets her books speak for themselves and typically avoids book publicity tours, saying, “I did do one [interview] about 35 years ago and I don’t have that much to say. So I figure every 35 years will do; it is just about right. It does make me very self conscious when I go back to writing after I talk about writing.”
Tyler says her characters are a product of her imagination and that she falls in love with all of them, saying: “When I finish a book, I send the book to New York to be read by my agent. So, I just seem to picture them on a train and my heart is broken. I mean I’m thinking of how they’re often sort of limited people or shy people. They’re just so brave to be going up there on their own. It’s really anthropomorphic. But then, after they get accepted, so to speak, and they’re a book on their own, I’m like a mother cat with kittens. I never think about them again. They’re gone.”
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