found: Here is a lengthy, very interesting 2007 interview with several authors on the topic of empathy in writing and reading.
“I see Jay Gatsby standing apart from the party looking over the ocean, his hands in the pockets of a white linen suit. I don’t know for sure if Fitzgerald wrote a white linen suit with pockets. I could comb the pages and try to find one, but one exists for me whether he wrote it or not. This makes Gatsby a living being, he is capable of changing his clothes outside of the book.”
“Virginia Woolf talks about “moments of non-being” as the most important when capturing character. I am not quite sure what she’s talking about here, but I always imagine, when I think of that phrase, Mrs. Ramsay climbing the stairs of her country house, sitting at her vanity table, taking the pins out of her hair, the light from the lighthouse sweeping over her, and she is not just lost in thought, she is empty of thought. She is present and empty at once, she is thoroughly herself, she is not moving the plot forward — what the hell is she doing there, halting the passage of time — and I think this is where Viriginia Woolf locates her soul.”