After ‘How much do you earn?’ the question most asked of writers is, ‘Where do you get your ideas from?’ Anne Tyler has written 21 novels, so she’s bound to know, isn’t she? ‘I wish I could claim I had ever had an inspiration for a novel!’ Oh. Right. ‘I spend about a year between… Continue reading Where Do You Get Your Ideas From?
Joanne Harris’s first novel was the phenomenally success Chocolat, which became a trilogy, and an even more famous film, but you’d be mistaken to simply refer to her as ‘the Chocolat author.’ Versatile doesn’t come close to describing her output. She has written big-scale fantasies based on Norse myth, and three (so far) novels of… Continue reading bookbybook02: Joanne Harris
The question at the heart of this blog – and my life as a writer, editor and reader who cares about authors – is: how do you make a writing life work? (A phrase I’ve borrowed from Pat Barker.) Recently, I’ve been read interviews with Jessie Burton, author of the bestselling The Miniaturist and Emma… Continue reading bookbybook 01: Adele Geras
Dame Penelope Lively has been a spokesperson for Penguin’s latest batch of A Puffin Book titles in which her 1974 novel, The House in Norham Gardens, appears. She is justifiably pleased to see her book reissued for new readers on a list which was the bedrock of children’s reading when her own children (she is… Continue reading Welcome Back to the House …
When a good friend recommends a book, you listen. Some of my favourite reads have been pressed on me by friends. And I remember the shared incredulity when a close friend and I realised we both loved one particular author and had neglected to mention it to the other. I discovered Jan Mark thanks to… Continue reading The Way In
I went to see a new play at the National Theatre, Sunset at the Villa Thalia by Alexi Kaye Campbell. It was a good night: an interesting play which had some potent things to say about politics and personal responsibility. It was well acted and staged. I liked a lot of things about it but… Continue reading Why I Wrote This Story
About three years after Jan Mark died, her daughter Isobel was living in Norfolk, not far from where they’d been based when Jan wrote her first, life-changing novel Thunder and Lightnings in 1974. (The year I was born, incidentally; I like to think she knew I was en route.) Isobel needed space. She mentioned she… Continue reading Recapture the Rapture