From scaring herself with her own story to recreating the romantic landscape of her childhood, Ann-Marie MacDonald shares with us the real inspiration behind Fall on Your Knees: Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia.
Telling a Disturbing Story
"Some people talk about children wanting to be born as though somewhere out there in the collective unconscious there's a spirit, or a thought or an idea that wants to be born. And I sometimes feel that way about stories...that they're there and they want to be told.
Fall on Your Knees is really a story about secrets and family, and the idea that there are some stories or truths that need to be expressed. In terms of the secrets that imbue and underlie Fall on Your Knees, they were as much of a mystery to me as I was creating the story as they are to the readers.
When I was writing this story, I often would be asked the question, 'Whom are you writing for?' For me, it was like there was this reader, this benevolent stranger, whose face I couldn't quite see. And I'd think, You're here. You're waiting. You've come. What am I going to give you? What's going on? Who's watching this? Whose eyes am I behind? What is she holding? It might be harrowing. I might ask you to go places you would never, ever buy a ticket to go. And in a way, I feel that part of my function as a writer is to let the reader know that we're actually going to go to spooky, disturbing places or some places that might morally challenge some people. But I'm going there with you. So that's really how it progressed. And I enjoy spooking myself, too."