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'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?'
'If somebody gave you a book token as a gift, you wouldn’t know immediately I was the one you wanted to spend it on. You’d enter a bookshop (independent, old-fashioned, with somewhere to sit in a tucked-away corner). My book would lure you.'
'I have a very low boredom threshold, so if I bore myself, I know I’ll bore you and you’ll put me aside. Even when wading through the endless stream of W. G. Grace’s cricket statistics, I always wanted to breathe life and drama into individual matches.'
'I see writing as a contract between the writer and the reader. I make up stuff that I hope will inform, entertain, scare, thrill or amuse. I spend time reworking the raw material my imagination has provided into something that, I hope, works for you. '
'So if, by picking up my novel, you are now reading my words, and if we accept that words are only as valid as the mind that chooses them, then we are both now in a kind of partnership, me writing the words and you reading them. '
'Those who borrow my novels and stories from libraries; your activities do not go unnoticed. At 8.5 pence per loan, sometimes the annual sum from the public lending rights can be more than writers receive for their work in the first place.'
'Yes, I am talentless, you're right. An utterly unconvincing stab at magic realism, dreadful. And yes, I'm ugly too; I agree. You were right to throw the novel in the bin, it is trash. That one star review is valid.'
'When I switched from adult fiction to YA, I was suddenly and acutely more aware of my readers than I had been before. Even at the planning and note-taking stage for my first teenage novel, I caught myself wondering: what do people your age want?'
'I suspect there are very few of you who've read everything I've written. Not least because I write across quite different forms. If you've read my poems you might not be drawn to my political fantasy novels, and vice versa.'
'Since earliest childhood, when words first began to form riotous assemblies in my prissy and precocious little bonce, I have been composing for a composite, a melded, amalgam, ideal reader: yes, you.'
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