Today is the day! MJ Rose is visiting to answer some of my questions regarding her two books The Reincarnationist and The Memorist. I enjoyed both of these books a great deal and have even gotten my husband to read The Reincarnationist. He is rarely interested in the books I read, so that’s quite an endorsement.
I reviewed The Reincarnationist a few months ago and now I want to share my thoughts about The Memorist. I found the second book just as intriguing as the first. The search for the memory tools continues, but with a new batch of searchers. Except for Malachai, who is still searching after his failure in the first novel.
I enjoyed the characters in this novel. It always amazes me how well MJ Rose can connect so many character’s lives without seeming too corny or unbelievable. Or, too confusing. The number of characters definitely has the potential to get confusing, but MJ makes it an easy read. The numerous characters and interconnections enhance the story. And, again, the descriptions of the settings are amazing. I would love to visit Vienna someday!
I don’t want to ruin the ending of the novel, but it was another good one. I was a little shocked by one of Meer’s final actions, but it was fitting. And, it left me wanting to know what happens next. From what I understand, there will be a next time…..
Now, MJ Rose’s thoughts about my inquiries. Enjoy!!
1. The Reincarnationist series seems to be a big change from your Butterfield Institute series about a sex therapist as well as your earlier books. How did you go about making this change?
I wasn’t aware of it as a change. I guess I’d just have to say I’m interested in what interests me in that moment. And at different times its been different characters with different issues.
I had always wanted to write about reincarnation and it took a while to get to the first book where I tackled it but in a way even though it seems like there’s a big shift between the first 8 books and the last 2 they seem to me to be different parts of the same theme.
I’m obsessed with psychology and what is the overarching theme of every one of the 10 novels I’ve written is how we are a response to our past.
What we were is who we are.
And when you write, if you are true to your characters you are true to their psychology – you have to be aware of them as sexual beings too.
In the last two novels, The Reincarnationist and The Memorist the characters others issues trumped any sexual interests/conflicts/crises they had.
But I imagine that I haven’t left sex for good
2. The settings in your novels are so beautifully described. How do you go about doing research on these fabulous cities? Do you spend time in each city? How do you know what to include to bring the reader right into the story with the characters?
I do spend time in each city. But not always that much. I was lucky to have gone to Vienna – where The Memorist takes place – and to Rome – where The Reincarnationist takes place – several times each. But as to knowing what to include – I don’t know. When I write the novels unfolds like a movie in my head… each and every scene on the page happened first in my mind’s eye. I literally am seeing it and hearing it as it happens. I’m not aware of making it up. I just write down what I see.
3. The endings of The Reincarnationist and The Memorist definitely don’t disappoint. When do you know how the book will end, before you start writing or as you’re writing?
I think I know. I start with a very vague notion but a real notion. Sort of like saying: I’m going to take a trip from Rome to Paris and when I get to Paris I’m going to walk in on a robbery in the train station. But I don’t know how I’m going to get there, how I’m going to pay for it, or what’s going to happen on the way.
So often I have one ending in mind for the book and by the time I reach the end, the story has its own ending. That very much happened with both The Reincarnationist and The Memorist. The ends were a surprise to me too.
I tend to write a fast first draft to discover the story – this takes about 6 months. Then I spend another 6 months to a year rewriting it all over and over. But the discoveries tend to happen in the first 6 months.
4. My husband is currently reading The Reincarnationist while I was reading The Memorist. We were talking about the books and we both agreed that the books have a similar quality to The DaVinci Code. Have you heard that comparison made before? How do you feel about that?
I have heard it and I would be foolish to be upset about it since he sold over 40 million books. But my inspiration was a book written in the late 1800’s – SHE – by H. RIder Haggard – which I would not be surprised to find out inspired him too:)
5. And, without trying to ruin any surprises, I wanted to know if you had future plans for David Yalom and Meer?
No, the next book in the series is about the FBI agent Lucian Glass who makes a very small appearance in The Memorist.
And, now for the contest! Leave a comment here and I will randomly pick a winner of both of MJ Rose’s books in this series. One paperback copy of The Reincarnationist and a hardcover of the newest novel, The Memorist.
Thank you, MJ, for your time and generous gift! I can’t wait to read the next one!