'It was always my intention to bounce between eras and genres, like Iain Banks with and without his ‘M’. Looking at Hilary Mantel’s early career, she did the same. It is possible, with sheer bloody-mindedness, to carve your own niche.'
'My desert island discs luxury would be my MacBook, a solar-powered battery and a satellite-based broadband connection. What do you mean, that's cheating? On their own, none of them is more useful on a desert island than a rock.'
'Some young adults are turning away from apps that find ever more devious ways to devour their attention, and towards the immersion of a good book. Poetry has been unexpectedly catapulted into bestseller lists by Instagram poets.'
Infamous eighteenth century pirate Mary Read is perhaps best known for living most of her life disguised as a man. Here, Ros Barber explores Read’s life and career, the subject of her next novel, and reflects on how approaching history through a female lens can add new perspectives on our understanding of the past.
'Facing and swallowing rejection is perhaps a writer's most important skill. Resilience is a writer's superpower. Anyone can finesse a fine sentence, with a little practice.'
'The hours I spend writing are squeezed around full-time work. The wolf must be kept from the door and there is nothing inspiring about lupine breath on the back of the neck.'
'This divorcee with three small boys in a two-bedroom flat, supported by Tax Credits, making seventy pounds a week first as a waitress, then an office temp, cannot afford to waste any more time not writing.'
'Everything I wrote was so awful that I came to a full halt; terrified of what dire nonsense would spout from my fingers next. I had taken a wrong turn.'
'In making the chaos of experience into something with shape, structure, perhaps even beauty, you can find a resolution for the unresolvable; closure for unfinished business.'
'You'll contort yourself into someone you don't recognise, and become an aching, howling hole that even your sister can't love, and then surface with all the understanding you need, to write the novels you dreamed of writing.'
'If I'd known finishing the book would have necessitated processing my brother's death I probably wouldn't have started it; a fine example of the idea that we write books for own benefit.'