“I’m a gossipy person—I like looking at people and how they get along with one another.”

-Jane Smiley

Love these words by the brilliant novelist Jane Smiley.

And I think this is an important trait for a novelist, after all, they are delving into the inner lives of the characters they create on the page. To do this well, it’s clear they have to take an interest in the lives of others, their innermost thoughts and dreams, their looks, their mannerisms, how they speak and how they interact with others.

When I read authors – such as Smiley – who do this extremely well, I suspect they must be good about ‘eavesdropping’ on the lives of others. Being, well, gossipy and nosy, I suppose.

After all, it’s not nosiness, it’s research. Wouldn’t you agree, writers?