Audrey Niffenegger is writing a sequel to her best-selling debut novel The Time Traveler’s Wife (Vintage).
The sequel is one of two books the author is currently working on, she revealed on Friday (15th August) as she gave the inaugural English PEN/HG Wells lecture as part of the World Science Fiction Convention, Loncon 3, at the ExCel centre.
As well as the sequel to The Time Traveler’s Wife, which has sold over 1.5m copies through Nielsen BookScan and was made into a film, Niffenegger is also writing a book called The Chincilla Girl in Exile.
“My own [writing] process tends to be slow,” Niffenegger said. “I don’t know if any of you have noticed that I don’t tend to crank out a novel every two weeks.
“At the moment I am working on two different novels and it’s kind of funny because they bleed into each other and I suddenly realise that I’m writing the same novel twice, so I’m trying to build little fences between them.
“One of them is a sequel to The Time Traveler’s Wife and the other is a book I’ve been working on just about forever called The Chincilla Girl in Exile, which is about a nine-year-old girl who has hypertrichosis, which means she’s covered in hair. And the sequel is actually the harder of the two because I have already built the world and I have to follow the rules of the original book and yet manage to make something that has a reason to be in the world and isn’t just one more of the same.”
The Time Traveler’s Wife told the story of librarian Henry, who has a genetic disorder which causes him to travel through time unexpectedly, and his romance with artist Clare. The pair, who meet each other at different points in their lives throughout the novel, have a child together, Alba, who can also time travel, but has more control over her ability.
Niffenegger described her writing process as “chaotic” and said she did “all the bad things that they tell you not to do in writing class”.
The PEN/HG Wells lecture has been set up in honour of the author, a former PEN president the organisation described as a “visionary”.
The aim of the lectures is to “showcase visionary writing and new thinking that embodies the spirit of the pioneering writing and activism of HG Wells”.
Niffenegger built her lecture around a short story written by Wells called "The Door in the Wall", and argued for the need for more time and space to follow creative pursuits and creative thinking.
The lecture was followed by a question and answer session, during which Niffenegger was asked what she thought the biggest threat to the arts was.
“Amazon,” she answered. “The biggest threat to the arts that I can think of at the moment [is Amazon].”
Niffenegger also encouraged people to exercise their right to vote as a short-term answer to making sure governments invested in the arts.
“The immediate answer is to smite them all [politicians] at the voting booth,” she said.