Robert Harris: Getting into the Head of a Cardinal Transcript
It seems to me that my job as a novelist and also the great pleasure is to try and put myself in the head of people who are nothing like me. Be it Roman Senators or French Army Officers or a code breaker, whoever it may be, and to that extent trying to get inside the head of a celibate Cardinal is just another challenge and one of the things that makes the job so interesting.
I did feel like I could get a sense of what it might be like for him and as I say the book will stand or fall as to whether people will feel Cardinal Lomeli is a coherent and believable character. He feels very real to me and I hope he’ll be real to others, but of course I’ve had to invent him.
I had to just sort of imagine myself at that point of life when my life is drawing to a close and I’ve been gravely ill and I’m starting to find difficulty in prayer and I’ve tried to resign actually from this job and I just really want to go and live quietly in an order somewhere in my last year or two, and instead I’m pitched into this thing and trying to balance all the forces, loyalty to the church, memory of the dead pope, my own crisis of faith and all these various forces coming in on him in a very limited time frame of seventy two hours and all the pressures on them.
I’ve tried to put myself in that role and I’ve done the best that I can and I think I can understand, I mean I think I can understand him, but others will judge.