Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Here are two questions I enjoyed answering in a recent on-line piece, even though I didn't exactly answer the questions...
The book I’ve written which I feel has come closest to what I wanted to achieve was...That's like trying to choose between my children! Each book evolves in its own way, adding layers and eccentricities to characters who have already appeared in the series. At the same time, the continued presence of those characters, and the consistency of the world they inhabit, provides a kind of gyroscopic balance which I find very comforting as I sit down to write each day. But each book represents an evolution. If I honestly thought that any book was less effective than the one before it, I would never allow it to go to print.
The writers who have inspired me include...For fiction, I grew up reading Tolstoy, Chekov, Conrad, Koestler and St Exupery. These days, I have to read so much for research that I have very little time for fiction any more, and no time at all to read crime fiction. When you work with it all day, every day, reading the same genre is like jogging all day and then going out for a jog to relax. Whenever there is a crime show on the television and I happen to be watching it with my kids, they get very annoyed that I can always figure out what's going to happen in the first few minutes of the show. I have friends in the film industry who say the same thing. It's like having unwanted x-ray vision.You can't surrender the disbelief. You become too aware of the artifice.The books I get caught up in now are most often obscure memoirs, most of them long out of print, written by people who were actually doing the things I want to write about. Trolling through those dusty, fragile pages (the one I'm reading right now was published, just once, in 1933 - the pages come loose in my hands as I turn them) is like panning for gold. And finding it.