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Comment from the book world in April 2015

April 2015

'Ordinary life is shapeless'

20 April 2015

‘If you write only the true things people get bored... ordinary life is shapeless... When I write, I'm here to use everything I can to make this a good book. It's not me expressing my inner soul. It is me using everything that I have, so I can tell this story and to some extent I have to be aware that my own emotions, my own love of these people, can be harmful to the book.'

Akhil Sharma, author of Family Life, which has just won the Folio Prize, in The Times


'Just write it.'

13 April 2015

'I was brought up with this idea that I had this crazy relative that founded her own religion. she attracted quite a substantial following at the time, and this informs the book. That idea of cults, and how they can exert their power...

I just think that women and the way they relate to each other in families is very influential in our lives. This thing of how women influence each other through the generations, I think it is an important relationship to a lot of people...

I've always written, notes and fragments and short stories and ideas, but you don't know at 18 that you are going to go off and be a writer - well I didn't anyway. Then I had children and a really good career in television. I reached a point where my life was freeing up a bit and it was a good time to pursue it...

It's good not to think too far ahead. If you have got a story that you feel you want to write, just write it.'

Kate Hamer, whose 21st century 'Little Red Riding Hood', The Girl in the Red Coat, is tipped to be a bestseller, in the Independent on Sunday

‘Publishing was like throwing stones into a swamp'

‘Publishing was like throwing stones into a swamp - nothing happened. My aim was altered by that experience. I decided that the big thing was not getting published; the great thing would be to satisfy myself. It was the first time I'd found my voice. I found a way of telling a story that involved inhabiting a consciousness that could float free - it's not omniscient, it's a sort of sprite that can hover here and there...

I never thought it (The Ruby in the Smoke) would be any kind of success. I thought it would sell a thousand copies and disappear...

One of the problems I had with fantasy - especially of the Tolkien sort - was that it seemed to say absolutely nothing about what was the main subject of fiction, as far as I was concerned, which is human nature and its relation to the universe. The hobbits aren't human beings, elves aren't human beings. The whole thing in Tolkien is a complete sham really.'

Philip Pullman, author of His Dark Materials and many other bestsellers, in the Sunday Times


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