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June 11, 2014
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Francine Prose at NYPLIn response to a question about what coheres her work, she suggested an interest in narrative and construction of sentences:

"It's always about sentences. It doesn't matter what it is. It doesn't matter if it's a book review or it doesn't matter if it's a novel or it doesn't matter if it's nonfiction. It's always about the sentence and the sentence structure and narrative, telling a story, whether it's true, whether it's made-up, whether it's partly true. So, I'd say narrative and sentences, vocabulary, diction, style, all those things."

For her most recent novel, Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932, Prose invested herself in much research. She described buying shelves of books and also finding YouTube helpful:

"You write something, and you have a kind of contract with the reader. You don't want to make the kind of mistake that throws the reader out of the book, so certain historical details needed to be correct. And then I needed to know, let's say, something about luxury automobiles in France in the thirties. So I have all these books. Plus, now you can go on YouTube and just find out anything you need. There's this scene in the novel which is the last public guillotine execution in France in the last 1930s, and guess what, you can find this film of this execution online. It's there. Do not watch it. It is really horrible. There's a reason that was the last one. For one thing, they hadn't used the equipment for about ten years. It's just horrible. But anyway, there it was. It was online, so a lot of the research was on the internet."

Prose spoke about how one of her interests in writing the novel was in discovering how her characters would make decisions following the advent of World War II:

"Part of what interested me was writing the part where the war comes because we all think we know what we would do in certain situations, but I don't think we do. So for me, it was difficult to predict how the characters were going to behave once the war happens: who was going to participate, who was going to leave, who was going to join the resistance, who was going to do nothing. And yet somehow by that point in the novel, it all became clear to me who they were and how they were going to respond because I knew them at that point. I'd been living with them in my head."

Source: www.nypl.org
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