'Can I even dare to hope that somewhere out there are readers with all my volumes, from the very first in 1988 to the most recent, five years ago, on their bookshelves? That having got something out of the one you read first, you were drawn by the next?'
'The Scillies are the place my imagination retreats to when I’m grappling with a plot, or a new set of characters. The uncluttered beauty of the landscape triggers my creativity, which could explain why I return there every year.'
'For years, we didn’t even know that the ‘Firaq’ in Ghulam Nabi Firaq was a takhalus, a pen name that poets in the subcontinent adopt early in their poetic lives. He was simply Firaq Sir. A serious-looking, large man who was always immaculately dressed.'
'We dream up situations and conundra and resolutions for people who have never quite existed. To try to achieve that ‘flow’ state of deep concentration, I encourage that same delicious distractibility which makes me such a poor listener at lectures.'
'Hugo William’s advice is that voice when I need it, as I often do. My job isn’t to get better as a writer, or to worry about how people will respond, or if they will respond at all. My job is only to do what I can: to show up every day, and start scribbling.'
'Publication is wonderful — both euphoric and humbling, and I’ve been dazed by it each time. But in the days and weeks that follow a book’s release, I feel a strange sadness. As if something had physically left me, that I looked for but couldn’t find.'
'If you’re lucky, something else kicks in: a kind of defiance that makes you dig deep. Isn’t that deadline a manifestation of yourself, your hopes, your ambitions, your drive to produce something of substance that, against all odds, communicates truly?'
'To my parents’ credit (or detriment), they never censored anything. I loved Lois Duncan, who wrote about murderers, serial killers, witches. I loved Chuck Palahniuk’s earliest novels: Fight Club, Survivor, Invisible Monsters. I loved American Psycho. '
'Loneliness can take many forms. Yet the leathery skin on which these more specific lonelinesses totter – the meta-loneliness, if you like – is perhaps the pain of being wrenched from whatever shape we’d expected, pre-pandemic, our lives to take. '
'‘Inspiration’ implies some sort of divine intervention: the gift of a capricious god. I’m open to persuasion, but this seems unlikely and quite vague. Am sure these gods are too busy to be following us around, waiting for a moment to get involved.'