John Irving is the author of twelve books, including “The World According to Garp,” “A Prayer For Owen Meany,” and most recently, “Last Night on Twisted River.” Over his career he has won a National Book Award, an Academy Award for his adaptation of “The Cider House Rules,” and many other honors, and has been translated into over thirty languages. A former competitive wrestler, he splits his time between Vermont and Montreal.
Question: What is your writing schedule?
John Irving: Well, when I'm not interrupted by traveling, or school holidays for children--those kinds of things--I get up pretty early. I feed the dog, I'm usually at my desk, [by] you know, 7:30, 8:00 in the morning and I work for eight or nine hours a day and I work seven days a week. But there are a lot of interruptions. I have three children, I have four grandchildren, I travel a lot. So I can't say that I work, you know, seven or eight hours a day seven days a week every week, but when I'm left to my own choices, that's what I do.
Question: How often do you change the events once you start writing?
John Irving: Very, very little. Sometimes in the middle of the story, there are things that can be moved around. The beginning doesn't change much, the ending never changes, but sometimes in the middle of the story, an event that I had imagined might be in the vicinity of the fifth or sixth chapter will actually end up being in the eighth or ninth chapter. So, I take a little bit more liberty with the chronology of events, the order in which I'm going to tell the reader certain things, I take more liberties with those things in the middle of the story, but they don't change, it's just their placement that moves sometimes.
Recorded on: October 30, 2009