Connie Willis talks BLACKOUT! (Part 1)


Connie Willis’s new book BLACKOUT is in stores now and has got people talking! Connie’s been touring the country talking about the book, fielding questions from fans, and musing about the writerly life. So that more folks can read Connie’s observations, we thought it’d be great to give her a forum here on Unbound Worlds. Look for more from Connie Willis over the next few days, but for now, without further ado, let’s turn it over to Connie:

Hi, I’m Connie Willis. I just finished writing a new novel, BLACKOUT, and Unbound Worlds has been kind enough to let me blog about it and about writing and books and…well, whatever.
I guess I’ll start by introducing myself. I love books and being a writer, except for the actual writing part, which I find really hard. Erma Bombeck said if you liked housework, you weren’t doing it right. I feel the same way about writing.
In spite of this, I’ve written a bunch of books–DOOMSDAY BOOK, BELLWETHER, PASSAGE, TO SAY NOTHING OF THE DOG, LINCOLN’S DREAMS–and tons of short stories–“Even the Queen,” “The Winds of Marble Arch,” “Inside Job.” My story, “Just Like the Ones We Used to Know,” was recently made into a TV movie starring Mary Tyler Moore called SNOW WONDER.
I’ve spent the last eight years–yes, eight–writing a novel about an assortment of Oxford historians who travel back to World War II to observe history on-site: Pearl Harbor, the evacuation of Dunkirk, Bletchley Park, and the London Blitz. They’ve done tons of research on everything from the blackout to food rationing and putting out incendiary bombs, but the war’s a far more complicated place than they imagined, and when things begin to go wrong, they find themselves in over their heads.
BLACKOUT is only the first half of the story. The second half is ALL CLEAR, which will be out in the fall. (Note: both books are completely done, in case you were wondering about starting BLACKOUT and then my being hit by a bus or something.) And I promise this isn’t one of those books that turns into a never-ending series. BLACKOUT and ALL CLEAR tell the whole story, and my next novel’s going to be a comic novel about UFOs and Roswell.
My favorite books are Sigrid Undset’s KRISTIN LAVRANSDATTER and Jerome K. Jerome’s THREE MEN IN A BOAT. My favorite author is Shakespeare (of course) and my favorite play of his is TWELFTH NIGHT. My favorite movies are DREAMCHILD and LOVE, ACTUALLY. I love Preston Sturges’s screwball comedies and Dorothy Sayers’ mysteries and have a bulldog (Smudge) and a cat (Huck) whose name should be He Who Must Be Obeyed.
And I’ll talk to you again–and attempt to answer some of the questions folks ask me–next time.
Connie Willis