Gordon Dahlquist Q&A #6

Author of THE GLASS BOOKS OF THE DREAM EATERS

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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
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Gordon Dahlquist Q&A #6

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Wed Feb 11, 2009 8:48 am

ONBC: At times, some of us thought you were off base with the way your female characters thought. Did you have input from any female friends regarding Miss Temple's thoughts and behavior?


GD: Well, sure I did, but not so much in terms of "you're a woman, tell if this is right." I don't think anyone writes like that, nor should they. If you're awake to the world as a writer, then you've paid attention to all kinds of people in your life, and so you make up your characters as both composites of people you've known and people you can imagine. Anyone is welcome to think what they like about these characters, of course, but my intentions with the main ones anyway – Miss Temple or the Contessa – is that they're hardly supposed to be normal people, or behave or think in normal ways (and I think one of the more interesting threads going forward is how much Miss Temple is herself a kind of proto-Contessa). Part of this is a sense of time and place, and their own peculiar position in that time and place – they're not seen as normal by the people around them, either. Miss Temple herself is something of a little savage, from a place of very raw privilege.
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Re: Gordon Dahlquist Q&A #6

Unread postby trygirl » Wed Feb 11, 2009 10:23 am

This is a good answer, Mr. Dahlquist. I never really had a problem with some of the female characters' thought process but at times I found myself noticing the male perspective. However, I guess we can't expect a male writer to ever capture female thoughts accurately enough to please all. But it's this part of the answer that I find so interesting, "and I think one of the more interesting threads going forward is how much Miss Temple is herself a kind of proto-Contessa." I never once thought of Miss Temple as an earlier form of the Contessa until now. But I guess it goes back to what was said in another question about how Miss Temple was young, and more open to growth and change.
I suppose the Contessa could have started out like Miss Temple...naive, spoiled, intolerant and arrogant and with the help of certain nefarious characters in her life, could easily have turned into the devil woman that's introduced in the book. I think I wanted to assume that the Contessa was born evil, but I never considered that she might have come from her own type of "harsh and savage island." Or is Miss Temple merely a proto-Contessa because she too refuses to accommodate a society that sees them as second class citizens? And is she a first form because she's learning that in order to not be property in a male dominated society, one must act in mannish ways? I don't know but maybe because Miss Temple is so young and malleable, that her life is saved by Chang and Dr. Svenson in more ways than one.
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Re: Gordon Dahlquist Q&A #6

Unread postby IngridN » Wed Feb 11, 2009 2:05 pm

I hadn't thought yet about Miss Temple being a proto-contessa but while I
was reading the book I did find them very well matched.
"We are always the same age inside." Gertrude Stein

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Re: Gordon Dahlquist Q&A #6

Unread postby gemini » Wed Feb 11, 2009 6:14 pm

Yes, Miss Temple as a proto- Contessa is an interesting thought. I always felt that maybe the Contessa wasn't always as we find her now, but changed from a life with the Comte. That she was a strong person which made her more fearsome as a villain does not mean she was always evil. She may have once been very much like Celeste is now, which means under the right (or wrong) circumstances Miss Temple could end up a lot like the Contessa. We know she is already very capable of killing and is not intimated easily.

I do agree with Dalquist that writers of both male and female characters use composites of people they've known and people they can imagine. This would apply regardless of sex.
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Re: Gordon Dahlquist Q&A #6

Unread postby fansmom » Wed Feb 11, 2009 7:41 pm

IngridN wrote:I hadn't thought yet about Miss Temple being a proto-contessa but while I
was reading the book I did find them very well matched.
Anakin Skywalker?

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Re: Gordon Dahlquist Q&A #6

Unread postby trygirl » Wed Feb 11, 2009 7:44 pm

fansmom wrote:
IngridN wrote:I hadn't thought yet about Miss Temple being a proto-contessa but while I
was reading the book I did find them very well matched.
Anakin Skywalker?


Why Anakin Skywalker?
I'm not a brand, I'm more of a variety. - Johnny Depp

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Re: Gordon Dahlquist Q&A #6

Unread postby nebraska » Wed Feb 11, 2009 7:51 pm

Another interesting answer! I guess "normal" people would make pretty boring reading. And this was fiction, after all.

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Re: Gordon Dahlquist Q&A #6

Unread postby Theresa » Wed Feb 11, 2009 9:38 pm

Very interesting answer. You're right, nebraska -- "normal" wouldn't make for a great page-turner in this genre of book.

I particularly find Mr. Dahlquist's comment about Miss Temple being a little savage fascinating. And it really begins to shed a light on some of her actions and thoughts. She wasn't bound by the social mores of the time, not having been raised in that kind of setting.

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Re: Gordon Dahlquist Q&A #6

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Wed Feb 11, 2009 9:50 pm

fansmom wrote:
IngridN wrote:I hadn't thought yet about Miss Temple being a proto-contessa but while I
was reading the book I did find them very well matched.
Anakin Skywalker?


OOOOOH! Good one, fansmom! :cool:
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Re: Gordon Dahlquist Q&A #6

Unread postby Liz » Wed Feb 11, 2009 11:42 pm

Theresa wrote:Very interesting answer. You're right, nebraska -- "normal" wouldn't make for a great page-turner in this genre of book.

I particularly find Mr. Dahlquist's comment about Miss Temple being a little savage fascinating. And it really begins to shed a light on some of her actions and thoughts. She wasn't bound by the social mores of the time, not having been raised in that kind of setting.

I get the savage part--from her background in the Caribbean. I don't see her as proto-Contessa, though. I think that is because I loathed the Contessa and was always rooting for Miss Temple.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

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Re: Gordon Dahlquist Q&A #6

Unread postby IngridN » Thu Feb 12, 2009 12:39 pm

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:
fansmom wrote:
IngridN wrote:I hadn't thought yet about Miss Temple being a proto-contessa but while I
was reading the book I did find them very well matched.
Anakin Skywalker?


OOOOOH! Good one, fansmom! :cool:


Hi Fansmom
Family of Luke :-? :blush: I don't like Starwars . I watched the first movie many many years ago but only 3/4 and I never saw the sequels so I'm afraid I cannot give a comment.
"We are always the same age inside." Gertrude Stein

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Re: Gordon Dahlquist Q&A #6

Unread postby gemini » Thu Feb 12, 2009 5:25 pm

trygirl wrote:
fansmom wrote:
IngridN wrote:I hadn't thought yet about Miss Temple being a proto-contessa but while I
was reading the book I did find them very well matched.
Anakin Skywalker?


Why Anakin Skywalker?

Anakin Skywalker's rebelliousness and eventual fall to the Dark side as Darth Vader (for those of you who aren't into sci fi flicks) is a pretty good analogy of Miss Temple to the Contessa. After all they are both characters from science fiction stories. Both had outside influences that led to them becoming killers, Anakin revenged the murder of his mother and Celeste fighting to save her own life. Vader was saved from the dark side in the end so maybe there is hope for Celeste and the Contessa.
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers



Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional.

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Re: Gordon Dahlquist Q&A #6

Unread postby trygirl » Thu Feb 12, 2009 5:50 pm

gemini wrote:
trygirl wrote:
fansmom wrote:Anakin Skywalker?


Why Anakin Skywalker?

Anakin Skywalker's rebelliousness and eventual fall to the Dark side as Darth Vader (for those of you who aren't into sci fi flicks) is a pretty good analogy of Miss Temple to the Contessa. After all they are both characters from science fiction stories. Both had outside influences that led to them becoming killers, Anakin revenged the murder of his mother and Celeste fighting to save her own life. Vader was saved from the dark side in the end so maybe there is hope for Celeste and the Contessa.


Thank you gemini! I'm aware of the Star Wars movies (in fact I love them) but I just didn't immediately make the connection between Anakin and Miss Temple. But I see it clearly now.
I'm not a brand, I'm more of a variety. - Johnny Depp


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