I was recently fortunate enough to be interviewed for the rather excellent Newcastle Libraries website — definitely worth a look, even if you aren’t from the north-east of England — and thought I’d share a little of it with you here:
Which authors do you admire?
Many! I love large canvas fiction — writers who connect us to individuals by large-scale stories. Tolstoy is the obvious example, but it also applies to writers like John Irving, who has also influenced me.
Lately, however, I’ve been rediscovering Michael Ondaatje — the Sri Lankan-born Canadian novelist and poet. I read The English Patient and Anil’s Ghost when they were both originally published and then, as is so often the way, lost him for a while. At the moment, I’m reading Divisadero, and I’m overwhelmed, again, by the beautiful economy of his writing. I heard him say in an interview recently that, for him, writing is about deciding what can be left out rather than put in, and this together with this wonderful novel is making me reassess my own way of working. A good author always makes you, as a writer, want to improve on what you do, find new ways of thinking about the familiar narrative problems.
To read more, please click here.
This response is fairly typical. The staff of regional and national libraries are proving to be wonderfully helpful — buying in copies, taking flyers and letting their readers’ groups know about me. This kind of support is truly invaluable and hugely appreciated.
If you’re a library staff member or someone visiting from a readers’ group, please say hi — and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate.
Two sample chapters of If I Never can be read here.
To buy your copy of If I Never, please click here.