Like all holy figures whose earthly existence separates them from the broad mass of humanity, a saint is a story, and Joan of Arc's is like no other.
I like vampires, tuberculosis, anything to do with blood. Then I read a biography of Rasputin and found out he'd had this daughter who had become a famous lion tamer and been billed as the daughter of the mad monk who was able to hypnotize animals with her eyes. It gave me a vision.
We know the seductive alchemy of art. To transform private anguish into a narrative of truth, if not beauty; to make sense where there was none; to bring order out of chaos - these are the promises art makes.
I'm always sorry to finish a book, to let go of characters I love, people I've struggled to understand for years, people who evolve before me.
It is my conviction that secrets are more costly in the long run than honesty.
I am perfectly capable of writing things about myself that one doesn't discuss in polite company, but I was raised by people who said you don't discuss politics, you don't discuss religion, and you certainly don't discuss people's sex lives.
I'm not an investigative journalist; I don't track crime or police blotters.
I've always been interested in the intersection between our rational and our unconscious lives.
Writing is how I stay sane. It's completely necessary.
I can't work out much about myself or what I see in the world around me unless I do it through writing.
I don't care what people think about me. I care what people think about my work. As a young woman, I was so eager to please that I served others' happiness and even their values before my own.
I was the good girl who never needed disciplining, who made straight A's. I applied and was accepted to Stanford University.
I remember seeing my father only twice as a child for brief visits. As I grew up, I invented a father who was larger than life - stronger, smarter, more handsome, and even holier than other men.
The Russian revolution is one of history's car wrecks. We do know the ending, but we continue to watch. It expresses aspects of human nature we find unacceptable.
I was raised by maternal grandparents who were born in 1890 and 1899, respectively. They were British subjects; George V was the cousin of the tsar. The Romanovs were very real in their household.
Rasputin's daughter understands the revolution. She would have been an outsider, a spectator in the royal family and to the revolution.
I got history solidly under my belt, reading Russian history and biographies. I couldn't change the facts. I could only play with how the people might have responded to the facts of their lives.
Lives that are so conspicuous have a claustrophobic feeling. Once you're in charge of running a country, you're under scrutiny all the time. That's a trap.
Looking at the Obamas, they have a lot to manage with their children and having Michelle go out and have everybody comment on what she was wearing, what it means. I think you have to create a pretty large private world to live in.
It's hard for me not to have a great deal of compassion for the last Romanov family because, really, I don't know if a politically savvy ruler would have been able to make the situation turn out much differently.
I wrote 'The Kiss' 12 hours a day for six months.
Whether writing fiction or nonfiction, I've never had the sense I was 'making up' a character. It feels more like watching people reveal themselves, ever more deeply, more intimately.
For years, the place I really lived - the world I watched, the one I thought and wrote about - was 15th-century France.
I'll never have so compelling a figure within my embrace as Joan of Arc; there will never be a book whose last chapter is so very hard to get right.