bookbybook: Author Interviews

How do you build a writing career? It isn’t always easy to plan. You create it book by book …

One of the best ways to learn how to have a career as a writer is to follow the advice of those who have gone before you. For this blog, I interviewed a number of writers from the UK, Ireland, the US and Australia, and have gathered all the posts together below.


Between them, they’ve written fiction, memoir, biography, children’s books, poetry and more. The main thing they have in common is longevity – they have managed to sustain a career over many years, in ever-changing markets. Sometimes they’ve switched genres. Or names, even. Looking back at their work, how do they feel about particular books? I hope you enjoy their answers …

01: Adele Geras

Author of 90 books – yes! 90! – Adele Geras mostly now writes for adults, having begun her career with books for very young readers.

02: Joanne Harris

Perhaps best-known for her Chocolat trilogy, Joanne also writes epic fantasy novels and dark psychological tales.

03: Linda Newbery

Linda is best-known for her YA titles, such as Set in Stone, but she writes for all ages. She reviews and blogs and travels widely to speak about her work.

04: Laurie Graham

Laurie reinvents herself according to publishers’ tastes – she’s now a contemporary novelist again. Don’t miss her brilliantly frank writing blog.

05: Sophie Masson

As well bring a popular, prize-winning writer, Sophie is a publisher, academic and campaigner for authors’ rights.

06: D. J. Taylor

One book  – or article or review – leads to another for David, who is moving through the decades as a novelist, while chronicling our literary landscape.

07: Mavis Cheek

Beloved for her wittily sharp comedies, Mavis’s writing often defies categorisation, keeping her devoted readers on their toes.

08: Paul Magrs

Paul was hailed for his ‘magical realist’ early books, which are being reissued next year for a new generation of readers.

09: Susan Hill

Across a 50-year career, Susan has reinvented herself as a literary novelist, non-fiction author, children’s author, master of the ghost story and crime writer.

10: David Leavitt

Published young, David’s books were considered ‘gay fiction’ – and are still iconic today – but more recent work has focused on biography and historical fiction.

11. Anne Fine

Author of over 50 books for readers of all ages, Anne is twice winner of the Whitbread (Costa) Award and twice winner of the Carnegie Medal.

12. Berlie Doherty

Berlie began her career writing for radio, before publishing her first book in 1982. Amongst her best-known books is Dear Nobody, recently reissued by Penguin.

13. John Harvey

Harvey’s Charlie Resnick books are amongst the most loved of all British crime fiction, but he’s written and published widely under various pseudonyms.

14. Deborah Moggach

Deborah writes for TV as well as producing novels an often adapts her own work. Best-known titles include Tulip Fever, due for release in early 2017.

15. Michael Ridpath

Ridpath’s debut in 1995 was one of the most talked about in publishing history. His financial thrillers defined an age. He now writes crime across different genres.

16. William Sutcliffe

William’s debut novel New Boy expressed the angst of being not far away enough from adolescence for 20somethings; now he writes YA and stories for younger children.

17. Ursula Dubosarsky

Author of over 30 books, many of them prize-winners, mostly for young readers but with depth and complexities that appeal to a wide range of readers.

18. Lesley Glaister

A true ‘writers’ writer’, Glaister’s highly acclaimed books are often creepy, always atmospheric, and include Honour Thy Father and Partial Eclipse.

19. Chris Brookmyre

His memorable debut Quite Ugly One Morning was followed by other amazing comedies but he’s now delving into darker terrain with crime fiction.

20. Matthew Condon

One of Australia’s most acclaimed short story writers, Matt’s most recent books have been non-fiction, including a book on his home town, Brisbane.

I hope you enjoy the anecdotes in these interviews. Please let me know! And do subscribe to the blog, or drop by often, as I’m constantly exploring these questions in my own work and those of other writers. Please follow me on Twitter, too: @appletonsbooks. And, finally, my own book (my first), Ready to Love, is available in paperback and ebook.



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