After a gap of many months, I’ve been able to spend some time on my new book these past few weeks and at last feel as if I’ve returned to it in earnest. I thought about keeping a diary of its progress but instead I’m going to record key breakthroughs. Maybe they’ll chime with your… Continue reading Five Things About My New Book
Storyish is my new favourite word. I heard it last night, when I attended a panel event, hosted by Goldsboro Books, celebrating Agatha Christie. The speakers were Ragnar Jonasson (crime writer and translator of many Christie books into Icelandic), John Curran (Christie’s biographer), James Prichard (Christie’s great-grandson and manager of her estate), and Sophie Hannah,… Continue reading How To Be Storyish
When I worked full-time in-house, I was very mindful of how I used my spare time for writing. I developed a system when I would write before work each morning, and then walk to the office, which took at least fifty minutes (in other jobs, living elsewhere, longer). I could close down thoughts about my… Continue reading Turning Up the Volume
In my editing life, I’ve been using track changes a lot. I’m all for it. It’s efficient – no waiting for manuscripts to thump through the letterbox (or having to collect them, mysteriously shredded, from the post office); no expense of high-level security postage, lest it gets mislaid en route. It’s great for culling repetitions… Continue reading Standing On Top of Your Manuscript
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?
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
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about authors’ and readers’ relationships – partly because of conversations I’ve been having, and because I’m anticipating a very special reissue which has taken me back to one of the most important author friendships of my life – with the late, great Jan Mark. We corresponded for many years… Continue reading Authors On and Off the Page