- I have huge respect for short stories—I just find them much harder to get right than a novel. A novel is a lot baggier and it gives you more leeway to go on for too long or to make mistakes. Whereas in a short story, every sentence, every word, matters—and that’s very hard. I think it’s easier to write too much than it is to write exactly the right thing.
- On how she compares short story writing to novel writing in “An Interview with Tracy Chevalier” in Fiction Writers Review (2019 Sep 23)
- Usually, I take great pleasure in finding a notebook that’s going to match the subject matter. And this time, for some reason, I was in a hurry. I hadn’t found the right one, I had started my research, and I couldn’t wait for the perfect notebook. So, I just grabbed one that I had. It’s the first time though, and it felt a little sad.
- On choosing a notebook for each novel that she writes in “An Interview with Tracy Chevalier” in Fiction Writers Review (2019 Sep 23)
- I live with them for a long time in my head. When I first start writing about a character, I don’t know them that well. It’s through the process of writing of putting them in scenes, and contemplating them—when I’ve spent more time with them—that they take on more flesh. When I start writing, I have a lot of characters that I’m not sure what their place in the novel will be…And some characters recede as I put more flesh on them. I think I don’t really need them; they’re not giving me anything. Or they’re there for a particular effect, and that’s it.
- On how she formulates her characters in “An Interview with Tracy Chevalier” in Fiction Writers Review (2019 Sep 23)
- Dialogue is always tricky. Authenticity is almost impossible, and you always end up sounding too olde worlde. What I do is to strip the words back, so I get the dialogue to sound timeless…
- On how she composes character dialogue in “Tracy Chevalier: 'Slavery has to be raised until it's put to bed'” in The Guardian (2013 Mar 16)
- There are times when I'm hoping the reader will feel slightly sympathetic. She's in a marriage she should never have made and she's kind of stuck in this swamp. And she is, yes, self-centered and a terrible mother; but she also is misunderstood, I think, at times, and frustrated...
- On her character Sadie Goodenough from her novel At the Edge of the Orchard in “'I Ate A Lot Of Apples': Tracy Chevalier On Writing Her 'Orchard' Novel” in NPR (2016 Mar 12)