When your heart beat so fast, your hands are shaking more than usual, and a big smile appear in your face… One good book found you. I have the pleasure to give us a little piece of one of the best interviews I’ve ever done in my life. A little time with Fiona Barton, the witty mind behind the novel that everyone are talking… “The widow”. Here we go.
Fiona, you are a journalist but, what dreamed to be when you were a child?
Journalism was all I wanted to do when I was a child. My father was a district reporter for a national newspaper and worked from home so I was brought up in a newsroom, really. I loved the idea of being able to ask questions of anyone, meeting people whose stories never leave you, travelling to unlikely places and writing.
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What’s the role of social networks like Twitter or Facebook in the world today? What’s the role of these for you?
Social media has a massive role to play for everyone – especially journalists. It allows us to speak to a much wider audience and to have direct contact with our readers/listeners and viewers. However, with every innovation, there are challenges to face. One of them must be privacy and the other, the rush to judge and attack by anonymous trolls.
The changes have come from how we deliver and consume news. Some say that everyone is a journalist now. I disagree. I would say that everyone can have a public voice now – and millions are grabbing that opportunity, posting information and their opinions online. But a professional journalist gathers information, researches, checks, analyzes and crafts a story that allows the audience to see the full picture and form their own opinions. Well, that’s the theory…
In my country (and I think, in whole world), the media (TV, radio, newspapers, etc.) are experiencing a tremendous crisis of honesty, as in the desire of firsts and rating, are neglecting what in my opinion, is what really matters in their work. What’s your opinion about this situation?
I feel very sad that the actions of a small group of journalists – and it should be emphasized that the majority are not involved in bad and unprofessional practices – has caused people to see my profession in very negative terms. I know it may be hard to imagine in the current mediaphobic climate but there is still strong, brave journalism, that tells stories without fear or favour. And we should celebrate that.
Why write a book? Why you decided to publish a book?
Fiction gives me the freedom to decide what people think and say rather than being the reporter, recording people’s thoughts and words. I can invent motives and twists, inner voices, events and feelings but everything I write is fed by my experiences as a reporter. I have the best imaginable cast of characters to draw on, having spent more than 30 years watching and listening to people caught up in dramas, tragedies and conflicts.
A lot of people think the train of their dreams left them. Is there an expiration date for make your dreams come true?
Thankfully, no. I am 59 and publishing my first book. Never. Stop. Believing…
Kate Waters, Fiona Barton. Fiona Barton, Kate Waters. Is there something among you?
I have been where Kate goes – on doorsteps, knocking on doors, persuading people to give an interview – but she is not me (and my journalist friends agree!). The fact is that I have met a lot of Kates over my 30 years as a journalist and she is an amalgam of the best and worst of them. As you probably guessed, the newsroom scenes are all rooted in experience!
In “The widow”, I found a particular character that I hated and I loved at the same time. Thank you so much for Glen Taylor. I never forget him.
My first vision of Glen was Jean’s - at the bus stop where he bumps into her after a night out, suited and booted, on his way up in the world. I was seeing him through a dazzled teenager’s eyes and feeling Jean’s attraction and “fascination” with Glen and the life he offers her. But as I wrote on, Jean and I began to glimpse some of the demons that drove Glen’s ambition; chief among them, a desperate need to prove himself to a bullying father and a sense of entitlement. And so, all would be fine while his aspirations were being met but I recognized in him that pattern of chippiness and black disappointment, I had seen in others, when faced with setbacks. I wasn’t sure where this would take him but it began to lead us down a much darker path.
The voice of a woman. What is the significance of this in “The widow”?
I like the idea of women driving the action in psychological thrillers rather than simply being the corpse in the ditch.
Will we have the chance to read other Fiona Barton’s book?
Yes, I’m working hard on Book 2. It is a second psychological thriller with my reporter, Kate Waters, at the heart of the action.
What things are in your nightstand?
I am reading "My Brilliant Friend" by Elena Ferrante and loving it.