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‘Once upon a time there was a little girl who wanted to be a writer. She worked very hard, scribbling lots of stories. Then, one day, a fairy godagent promised to make all her dreams come true.' Ann Morgan reconciles the myth and business of being an author.
How does one teach writing? It’s not a craft. I attended a one-day workshop in wooden spoon making, great fun it was, and that was a craft. Or in my case a bodge. Literature is an art form. As Doris Lessing said, ‘There are no laws for the novel'.
'Gather a few authors together in a room and does the conversation veer towards culture, philosophy, art…literature? No, it does not. It focuses on complaints — publicists, publishers, party invitations (lack of), editors and of course…earnings. '
07-12-2023

Martyn Waites speaks with Doug Johnstone about learning crime writing on the job, adopting a female pseudonym and the joys of writing daleks.

'How do you get your ideas?’ If this seems a silly question to you: try not to say that. Think ahead and make up a reason. You’re a creator! Invent. And if your audience is bijou — shall we say — involve them.'
23-11-2023

Lesley Glaister speaks with Caroline Sanderson about the mystery of why some of her characters roar into life while others don’t; pays tribute to Hilary Mantel as a friend and mentor of her work; and argues that the heart of her fiction doesn’t only lie in darkness, but also in the triumph of the human spirit.

'A comic squib about domestic angst developed its own agenda and finally clinched itself in a line, ‘For they are in the world, and you are not’. The tribute to my late partner which I had struggled for two years to write. It had written itself. Or had it? '
09-11-2023

Jamie Lee Searle speaks with Ann Morgan about unpicking books layer by layer, overcoming the fear of writing and the practicalities of the creative life.

'Julia Cameron states that writer’s block needs to be radically reconfigured as a sign that the writer has too many ideas, not too few. When I read that for the first time, it wasn’t so much a lightbulb moment as a full-scale Son et lumière in my head.'
'Writers must cast aside whichever exciting project they are now working on to go back in time, just as the reader is taking the book forward into their lives. Pity the poor writer who struggles to remember why they wrote the book in the first place. '
'‘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.'
'Air Mail letter to my student self which has taken two months in transit: OK, so you hate being in Russia, the Soviet Union isn't what you imagined, you haven't got a clue what's going on or what anyone is saying and haven't seen a piece of fruit in months.'
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