Do you ever feel like your characters are getting away from you, out of your control?
I take control of them. They are very carefully imagined. I feel as though I know all there is to know about them, even things I don't write – like how they part their hair. They are like ghosts. They have nothing on their minds but themselves and aren't interested in anything but themselves. So you can't let them write your book for you. I have read books in which I know that has happened – when a novelist has been totally taken over by a character. I want to say, You can't do that. If those people could write books they would, but they can't. You can. So, you have to say, Shut up. Leave me alone. I am doing this.
Toni Morrison: The Art of Fiction No. 134, Interviewed by Elissa Schappell, with additional material from Claudia Brodsky Lacour in Women at Work: Interviews from the Paris Review