Q: Stay is a move into the mystery genre, as opposed to earlier science-fiction work, such as Ammonite and Slow River. Was that a deliberate choice for you? How did you figure out what genre the story you wanted to tell fit into?
NG: The Blue Place, then Stay, and now (well, okay, soon: April 2007) Always are often described as crime fiction–and they are–but I tend to think of them as novels about a woman becoming herself.
As a writer, the point of Slow River wasn’t the spiffy bioremediation, it was Lore’s growth and change. Similarly, the point of my last three novels is the growth of Aud Torvingen (the narrator). She journeys from being *this* close to sociopathy to understanding what it means to be a functioning human being, possibly even a hero. It’s been a blast to watch her blossom and grow (and kill people).
When I first start mulling a novel, I think about place, then about character, and then let the story evolve from the interaction between the two. It’s at that point that I realise, Oh, it’s SF. Or, Oh, it’s crime fiction. Or (a novel I’ve just started), Oh, it’s sword-swangin’, pony-riding, magic-wielding fantasy, yay! The genre is just the vehicle I pick–submarine or bicycle, kite or SUV–to cross the particular story terrain.
Definitely check out the whole interview; it touches on Griffith’s immigration case being used in the Wall Street Journal as an example of America’s going to hell in a handbasket, among other things.