In The Invention of Wings, the latest selection of Oprah's Book Club 2.0, author Sue Monk Kidd enters the minds of characters from different time periods, genders and races.
How does she channel the voice of someone who has lived such a dramatically different life from her own? In the above clip from "Super Soul Sunday," she responds to a curious viewer's question: "As a white woman, did you feel any awkwardness in writing an African American slave character? If so, how did you push past that?"
Kidd says she was so compelled to write the story of Hetty "Handful," a young slave in 19th-century South Carolina, that she knew nothing would stop her. "I mean, I was daunted," Kidd says. "But I knew it couldn't stop me from telling this story. For some reason, this character showed up in me and she had a lot to say. And I just let her talk."
"How does that work, the voices?" Oprah asks. "When you start to write, do they show themselves to you? They reveal themselves to you?"
Kidd explains that some characters come more easily than others. The voice of Handful, she says, came to her almost instantly. "Where it came from, I don't know entirely," she says. "But I had to trust it."
Once she finds a character's voice, Kidd shares that it's not easily quieted. "It's encompassing," she says. "Sometimes they wake me up at night and have to tell me something … And I'll write it down. But they speak to me a lot internally, the voices. I might be trying to work something out and they'll come at all kind of odd times."