Monday, March 19, 2012

"I Had a Very Severe Stepmother"

Elizabeth Floyd Mair interviews Scottish author Margot Livesey (who visits tomorrow) in the Times Union:

Q: What has the book Jane Eyre meant to you, and how is it connected to "The Flight of Gemma Hardy?"

A: I read Jane Eyre precociously when I was 9 years old. I pulled it out of my father's bookshelf, because it had a girl's name on the cover. And then, of course, it turned out to be about someone who was just about my age, and that was very appealing.

At the time, I was living with my father and stepmother on the grounds of the boys' school where my father taught in the Scottish Highlands. I could see the moors outside our living room window, and the school itself was a Gothic building with battlements that I could easily imagine as Thornfield Hall. I had a very severe stepmother, and it wasn't hard to turn her into Jane's aunt. Then, the year after I read the book, we moved to the south of Scotland, and I went to a very difficult boarding school. More.