Blogger – interview questions
I want to thank Ruth for agreeing to an interview and for the publisher who facilitated the intwrview
Q If you could write another genre of book what would it be and why?
A. It would be a dystopia. I love the genre, and have done since reading The Handmaid’s Tale when I was at university, but I think the genre is even more exciting since the arrival of The Hunger Games and Divergent series; there are other books now coming through that also focus on teens are really exciting. I’ve started my own dystopia, called Sealand, and keep going back to it, but it’s not ready for the world yet!
Q. If you could co-write with any author who would it be and why?
A. Stephen King. Not only is he a terrific writer, but he understands how to develop the craft. His book On Writing is a must for any aspiring novelist, and if we were working together I’d learn such a huge amount. What a wonderful fantasy!
Q. Which Hero was your favourite to write about?
A. I’m not sure there are any heroes – or villains – in my books. Those are terms that are so polar, aren’t they, human behaviour is much more complex than that. But, of course, you can have a flawed hero…in which case, I’d say my probation officer Cate Austin. She tries to do the right thing, but doesn’t always achieve it. What I also like about her is that she’s raising awareness about what probation officers actually do, and they seem otherwise hidden from crime fiction which is a real omission.
Q. Which Villain was your favourite to write about?
A. Alice, in The Sacrificial Man. She’s beautiful and intelligent, perfect in so many ways, and yet she agrees to help her lover to die and even to eat part of him as an act of love. I like that she’s so wrapped up in her own fantasy that she can’t see herself clearly; she has delusions of grandeur and you wouldn’t want her for a neighbour. But she was fun to write!
Q. What inspired you to become an author?
A. I don’t think there was just one inspirational moment, as I’ve always loved books and also writing so it was part of who I always was. I was the geeky kid in the corner of the playground with her head in a book, and now I’m the geeky grown-up with her head in a book!
I was seven when I started a daily diary, and twelve when I wrote my first play. But maybe the moment when a creative writing tutor (after I’d taken her night class) wrote to me and said, “You should write a novel” was the first time I felt that becoming an author was a serious possibility.
It was a lightbulb moment, for sure.
Q. What is your favourite novel that you have written?
A. They are all different, and say something about my life at that time, but the one I think is the most accomplished is The Sacrificial Man.
Q. What is your favourite novel you have read?
A. I have several that I return to, again and again. One that comes out every winter is The Secret History by Donna Tartt. Just typing this answer makes me long to read it…
Q. If you could write a fan-fiction on anyone else’s work what would it be?
A. Hmmm…so they have to be dead, right? That’s a tricky one. Daphne Du Maurier would be an author I’d like to try and channel, I’m a big fan of Rebecca.
Q. If you could choose one actor to play the role of one of you characters who would it be and why?
A. Carey Mulligan would be a great Cate Austin. And Samantha Morton would be a kick-ass Alice. She’s sufficiently intense for the part!
Q. If you could choose one person to read on an audible book who would it
be and why?
A. Actually, I’d choose me. I find it really hard to hear anyone else read the books, as it doesn’t sound right. I don’t know why the audio books don’t ask the author if they’d like to do it…
Q. Where do you generally write your novels?
A. On my sofa, with a lap-top balanced on my knee (like now). Or in the park, with a notebook. Or in the car, waiting for the kids to leave school. Even in a restaurant while everyone else is chatting, if I have an idea I need to get down.
Q. Who is generally the target audiences for your books?
A. I suppose I’m aiming at readers who don’t mind being unsettled, and who want a book to linger in their thoughts after they close the cover.
Q. How do you handle a bad review?
A. Very well. I’ve always been good at taking criticism – I listen carefully to what’s being said, and if it’s a fair point I try and learn from it. Considered feedback is a gift and should be taken as such. How else can anyone improve?
Q. How do you handle a very good review?
A. Again, it’s a gift but this time a nice sparkly one. Anyone who takes the time to offer feedback, should be thanked. I try and make a point of doing so, either by tweeting or posting a response, and I’m endlessly amazed at people’s generosity.
Q. Have you ever decided to make someone into a villain in your book because of something they did to annoy you?
A. Not so far! But you never know…