[More than 100 people recently came out to hear Ms. Kingsolver give a talk, which by her admission is an infrequent occurrence. The rural Kentucky native, who lives on a farm in southern Appalachia where she raises organic vegetables and Icelandic sheep and writes best-selling novels, said she rarely accepts speaking engagements.] ***“If I did too many speaking evnts, I wouldn’t be a writer. I’d be a woman who does shows,” she said.****
Kingsolver said writing, like creating any art, is 94.5 percent plain hard work. The other 5 and half percent is magic: the “bing!” moment.
The “bing” in “Flight Behavior” occurred when she hit on the idea of using the monarch butterfly as a device to illustrate the effects of climate change, a concern that is “incredibly important” to her.
“It is the most worrisome thing on Earth,” she said.
The story revolves around millions of monarchs that are displaced from their wintering location in Mexico as a result of global warming, and their fight to survive on a rural Tennessee mountaintop.
The topic of climate change has created a huge rift among people, she said.
“People don’t want to talk about it; they don’t want to hear about it. Why is it so hard to believe in?” Kingsolver said.
She sees her writing as a way to continue the conversation about climate change, to warm unbelievers to the science behind it, and to get people to talk across the “great divide” of their beliefs.
“We take information from sources we trust,” Kingsolver pointed out. “We decide who is on our team, then we accept information from them. To talk across divides, we have to be trusted.”
Kingsolver said the book’s characters and subplots explore the ways culture and education influence those divides.
“Everything is there because it moves the theme forward and where I want it to go,” she said.
“I also want you to learn something.”