JEAN M. AUEL QUOTES

American writer (1936- )

Women could be trying at times, but they often brought warmth and pleasure to a man's fire.

JEAN M. AUEL, The Clan of the Cave Bear

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Art was as much in the activity as in the results. Works of art were not just the finished product, but the thought, the action, the process that created them.

JEAN M. AUEL, The Mammoth Hunters

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When I first started I was obsessed--putting in 16 hours a day, seven days a week, and loving it. My in-laws told my husband that perhaps he should get some help for me. Once the book was published it was OK because writers can be a little crazy.

JEAN M. AUEL, interview, goodreads, April 2011

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Sometimes women who aren't perfect are more interesting; they've done more, or learned something.

JEAN M. AUEL, The Valley of Horses

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The first draft of the entire six book series was written at one time, in one single burst of creative energy, over a four month period of 12 to 16 hour days of sustained writing, during which I did almost nothing else except additional research. I thought at the time that it would be one novel, Earth's Children, but it fell into six parts. It was only on rewriting that I realized that I had instead written an in-depth outline for a six book series.

JEAN M. AUEL, Copperfield Review, April 28, 2012

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The Clan lived by unchanging tradition. Every facet of their lives from the time they were born until they were called to the world of the spirits was circumscribed by the past. It was an attempt at survival, unconscious and unplanned except by nature in a last-ditch effort to save the race from extinction, and doomed to failure. They could not stop change, and resistance to it was self-defeating, anti-survival.

JEAN M. AUEL, The Clan of the Cave Bear

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It's harder to kill people. The empathy is so much stronger that the mind must invent new reasons. But, if we can somehow link it to our own survival, the mind will make the devious twists and turns necessary to rationalize it. We're very good at that.

JEAN M. AUEL, The Shelters of Stone

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Tags: murder


I can't tell you any more than any other writer can tell you why they write, and I don't know what my influences are. From the beginning, when I first got an idea for a story and wondered if I could write it, it has always been the story that has driven me. The idea led me into the research, which continues to give me more ideas for the story. While I try to make each book a complete novel, the series itself has an overarching story, which I want to finish. Perhaps, in a way, Ayla is sitting on my shoulder telling me to get on with it.

JEAN M. AUEL, interview, Aukon, September 2002

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If you want to fall in love, you can't hold everything in. You have to open up, take that risk. You'll be hurt sometimes, but if you don't, you'll never be happy. The one you find may not be the kind of woman you expected to fall in love with, but it wont matter, you'll love her for exactly what she is.

JEAN M. AUEL, The Valley of Horses

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Tags: love


It's hard to believe that this long ago we--meaning Cro-Magnon modern humans--were the ones who invented art. Not every cave has gorgeous art, but the ones that do are spectacular. They utilize the bumps and the dips in the cave walls; it's not a flat surface like a painting. When you turn off the flashlight and strike a match instead, in that flickering light the shadows of these dips in the cave walls kind of move, and it almost makes you feel like those animals are alive. It's pretty spectacular.

JEAN M. AUEL, interview, goodreads, April 2011

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In a world so empty of human life, there was comfort in the thought that an invisible realm of spirits was aware of their existence, cared about their actions, and perhaps directed their steps. Even a stern or inimical spirit who cared enough to demand certain actions of appeasement was better than the heartless disregard of a harsh and indifferent world, in which their lives were entirely in their own hands, with no one else to turn to in time of need, not even in their thoughts.

JEAN M. AUEL, The Plains of Passage

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I got the idea for the story of a young woman living with people who were different, late one cold winter night in January 1977, but I don't know where it came from. I had never written fiction, though I had been reading it all my life. I discovered when I sat down to try it that it was fun, except I didn't know what I was writing about. I had never studied archaeology or anthropology. I knew how to find out, though. Libraries are wonderful. They started me on a remarkable odyssey that I'm still in the midst of. They opened my eyes to the fascinating story of our Ice Age ancestors that modern science has to tell ... not of knuckle-dragging apes, but the human story; and they gave me the means to learn how to tell it with books on how to write fiction. I got excited by it, and all the determination and purpose I had been devoting to work, school, and children focused into writing.

JEAN M. AUEL, Copperfield Review, April 28, 2012

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The difference in the brains of men and women was imposed by nature, and only cemented by culture.

JEAN M. AUEL, The Clan of the Cave Bear

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I love being able to learn whatever I want and earn a living at it. Research is fun; writing is hard work.

JEAN M. AUEL, Copperfield Review, April 28, 2012

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Tags: learning


Writing is the hardest work I've ever done. I'm a mother, I had five children, I was working full-time, I was going to university at night, I got a master's degree in business administration, and I did all those things at the same time--and writing is the hardest thing.

JEAN M. AUEL, interview, goodreads, April 2011

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A person could resist popular belief and stand up for personal principles, and though there may be consequences, not everything would necessarily be lost. In fact, something important might be gained, if only within oneself.

JEAN M. AUEL, The Mammoth Hunters

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I collect art. That's my weakness. I keep saying, "We've got to put a moratorium on it, we don't have room," but I keep buying it.

JEAN M. AUEL, "Where I write: Jean M. Auel works late in her Southwest Portland condo", Oregon Live, September 27, 2011

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There's no such thing as a writer's block. I get inspiration from working. I just have to push through and finally it'll start to come together again. The brain is always going, you just don't realize it.

JEAN M. AUEL, interview, goodreads, April 2011

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After years of a very busy life, I found myself with no commitments. It was a very free-floating state that was open, perhaps, to new ideas.

JEAN M. AUEL, Copperfield Review, April 28, 2012

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Tags: freedom


Very often people come up with spiritual beliefs to answer questions. Why did my child get sick? Why did the rain come and flood the river? People don't--and still don't--have those answers, so we try to come up with reasons.

JEAN M. AUEL, interview, goodreads, April 2011

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Tags: religion