Readers have responded passionately to the women characters in my novels — especially to Red Molly in The Law Of Dreams, and to Iseult in The O’Briens. Readers who fall in love with those characters sometimes ask “How are you (a man) able to write women characters so well?” My first response is pleasure that they, as readers, responded to the characters, felt involved with them and curious about them. But the question is kind of strange, when you think about it. As a novelist and a screenwriter I'm in the business of imagining characters, creating them and inhabiting them. Yikes, how dreary a book or a career would be if I could only imagine or see things from a “male” point of view!
What helps me with women characters is a lifetime of research! I've lived with women all my life! My mother, for a start. I grew up with two sisters, very close in age. I've had women friends all my life, and I'm married to a woman. It's fun to write the interior lives of women — the world seen and experienced from inside a women's head. It's a challenge but not much different from the challenge of inhabiting a male character. What bores me is a character too much like myself. When I was in my 20s and finding my feet as a writer many of the main characters in the short stories I was composing (for my collection Night Driving) tended to be young men in their 20s . . . it was a sort of egotism, really. I'm long since over that. I'm not at all interested in myself as a character. I'd rather dive into the minds, hearts and points-of-view of characters — men women and children — whose range of experience is quite outside my own.
Women are often more vocal and articulate about their feelings. I've watched and listened. I hope I've learned. And I'm glad that readers feel the authenticity of the women in The Law Of Dreams and The O’Briens . . .