Some people can’t accept that works of fiction are just, well, fiction
Some people can’t accept that works of fiction are just, well, fiction. They enjoy a novel so much that they want to believe its characters exist. You might, I suppose, blame it on authors creating compelling characters in recognisable locations.
Take Sherlock Holmes and the legions of fans who turn up at 221b Baker Street to have their photo taken with a deerstalkered minimum-wage-slave. People enjoy the stories so much that they want to see the place he never really lived. I don’t suppose the BBC’s hit series has helped.
What put this in mind was the launch of Liz Astor’s debut novel, Since You Went Away, a tale of ‘love, loathing, death and forgiveness’. The story is told in a modern epistolary form – not just letters but emails – and Liz has invented a couple of email addresses for her characters.
Pictured left: Liz Astor, author of Since You Went Away
I asked her agent, Diane Banks, whether these email addresses had in fact been created – if someone sent a character a message, as they have a wont to do, would it bounce back from a dead-end or might it be read and even replied to? Diane said she’d talk to Liz.
This is not as unlikely as it sounds. When Armistead Maupin was writing the second of his Tales of the City series in daily newspaper installments, he included his real phone number when a character provided his to a mysterious lady. As soon as the paper hit the streets, the phone started ringing. Maupin answered them and even played up, calling his fictional character over to the phone.
So might you get a response from email@example.com, one of Liz’s characters? Only one way to find out.
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