I don't really have special rituals, but I don't try to write fiction unless I have a minimum of a few hours. For me, it takes a while to settle into a mode where I'm truly concentrating.
It's never that hard for me to imagine what it must feel like to be someone else, whether it's an American teenage girl or a Japanese octogenarian man.
I have this theory that the likeability question comes up so much more with female characters created by female authors than it does with male characters and male authors.
My boarding school experience was the only thing I had strong enough feelings to write about for hundreds and hundreds of pages. I can still smell the formaldehyde of the fetal pigs in biology.
Well, I think that if you sincerely try to imagine what life is like for another person - not in a mocking way, not in a satirical way, but in a sincere, compassionate way - I don't think that's exploitive.
Probably I, like a lot of people, became a writer in imitation of or in homage to the books I enjoyed. When you're so captivated by something, you think, could I do that? Hmm, let me try.
People who think my books are autobiographical, which they're not, credit me with having a much better memory than I do. I do, however, have a powerful imagination.
You know, the point of a novel - or to me, the point of a novel, the gift of a novel is to go really deeply inside people's lives and inside their personal experiences.