INTERVIEWER

Do you regret not having produced more books?

LEHMANN

Not really. There were always so many other things I enjoyed—children, music, reading, friendship. I never thought my writing was the most important thing in my life and that I should withdraw from everything and everyone else in order to produce a book a year. Anyway, one waits for the creative flow to start. One cannot force it, and shouldn’t. This is what I would like to make clear: that a creative novelist—or dramatist for that matter—always relates back to what he or she has stored up from the first two or three decades of life. Childhood and youth are the source. Certainly all that I have written— the voices, faces, places, and images—the whole creative thrust, comes from my early life. Of course, being older, I related all that to the present. I am not comparing myself to Dickens, but even he always went back to his childhood, or so we are told by his latest biographers. It doesn’t matter how late you start. George Eliot began to write after forty but her material came from her childhood.

Rosamond Lehmann, Paris Review interview