Reading Hounded: Stories From the American Road by British journalist Alan Emmins gives a vital insight into the little-seen sights of everyday America, from small-town meth labs to bounty hunters and the aching sadness of a long-distance ride on a chaotic Greyhound bus.Read More
Recently I read and reviewed Dodge and Burn, a startling and very original debut novel by Seraphina Madsen. I had the chance to interview the author about her writing journey and process, how it felt to convert painful personal memories into fiction, her experience of writing a novel and seeing it published, and more. She took the time to write very full and interesting answers, so please read on to get an insight into her experience as a novelist. Could you give us an overview of your writing journey so far? I have… Read More
A couple of years ago, frustrated with her publisher, writer Cherry Potts decided to set up her own publishing company, Arachne Press. She’s now published five short-story collections (one of which had a story of mine in it), and has a novel and a poetry collection in the works. In this interview, Cherry shares some of the lessons she’s learned, and gives some tips and warnings to anyone who wants to follow a similar path. From the trick she uses to persuade bookshops to stock her books right down to… Read More
Check out this short interview I recorded the other day with James Higgerson, Manchester-based author of The Almost Lizard. In the interview, James tells us how he wrote the novel, what he wanted to communicate, and what most surprised him about getting published. He also gives us a sneak preview of his next novel, Kid Gloves, inspired by Britain’s tabloid-fuelled obsession with child protection. And watch out for some unscheduled guest appearances by his cat, Omar… For more information about The Almost Lizard, you can: Read the review I wrote on… Read More
Ian McEwan was interviewed in his university magazine this month, talking about his early influences and how he became a writer. Since it’s an interesting story, and some of you may possibly not have seen the latest copy of Falmer: The University of Sussex Magazine, I thought I’d summarise it here. Failure and disappointment The most interesting part, to me, is that the career of such an illustrious writer began with failure and disappointment. In fact, the failure and disappointment turned out to be crucial in his development as a… Read More
Dutch author Jan van Mersbergen is on a blog tour to promote his new book Tomorrow Pamplona, visiting a different literary blog each day and answering one question on each site. Today he visits my blog, and I asked him the following question: Q: According to Peirene’s reading guide, you’re renowned for creating silent characters like Danny. Could you talk about why you do this, and what sort of effect you hope to create by having the main character speak so little? Here’s Jan’s answer: This also caught… Read More
I spoke recently with Malaysian writer Preeta Samarasan, and am posting the conversation up here for you to listen to. In part 1, we chatted about her novel Evening is the Whole Day. Preeta gave some fascinating insights into the process of writing the novel and how it evolved over time, as well as talking about the unpredictable effects of children coming into contact with the adult world, and the things she wanted to say about Malaysian society. She also talked about her influences, from ancient Tamil poetry to books… Read More
I was interviewed by Jo Thoenes on BBC Oxford yesterday. I had done radio and TV a few times when I was at the Wall Street Journal, but it was different talking about myself. I was a lot more nervous and didn’t know what I would say. Still, it worked out really well. For the next week you can listen to the show here. My interview starts after about 20 minutes.