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Comment from the book world in January 2015

January 2015

Screenwriting - a collaborative endeavour

26 January 2015

'As I write, it is 5.30pm on a wet Wednesday afternoon, and so far today I have talked once, to my wife, about which of us is going to take our youngest son to football training. I appreciate how lucky I am in my work. I am able to support myself and my family through my writing. I can watch as many YouTube clips as I want. My lunch hour is when my stomach tells me it should be. But on a normal working day, things are very, very quiet around here...

I am not naturally solitary. I enjoy the company of other people. I have ended up writing because it's the only thing I'm any good at, not because I want to sit in a dark room wearing pyjamas, eating custard creams and spying on the neighbours. I decided that at least part of my working life needed to be collaborative, and screenwriting was the one branch of the game that required collaboration...'

Much later: 'Good films and TV shows are an unfathomable miracle of compromise, luck, timing, harmony, the right people doing the right things at the right time. If you're a writer, however, there's only one right place - and it's always a long way from everyone else.'

Nick Hornby, author of About a Boy and Funny Girl, in the Sunday Times magazine

Killing feminism with Gone Girl

19 January 2015

‘I had about 24 hours when I hovered under my covers and was like, "I killed feminism. Why did I do that? Rats...

Then I quickly felt comfortable with what I had written. Women shouldn't be expected only to play nurturing, kind caretakers. That's always been part of my goal - to show the dark side of women. Men write about bad men all the time, and they're called "antiheroes".'

From the same source:

‘Old-fashioned suspense is more engaging than immediate violence. A great thriller to me is more about creating a sense of unease, a queasiness that comes with knowing something is not quite right. It's why I love unreliable narrators - there's something so wonderfully unnerving about realizing midway through a book that you've put yourself in the hands of someone who is not to be trusted. ‘

Gillian Flynn, author of Gone Girl, in the New York Times

'I hate the stage after I've finished a book'

12 January 2015

'I began with thinking about how almost all families have such a sense of pride in their specialness, even if they have no real reason to make them feel so proud. I think that every family has stories that they choose. They filter out many of the stories that they could have, and they select one or two to be their family's stories. I'm always interested in why those... why not others?

When I began (the novel) I thought I would like to go on writing forever and never finish, because I hate the stage after I've finished a book. It's as if you have a bunch of imaginary playmates and you get all excited about them, then all of a sudden you have to expose them to the cold, cruel world and have people judge them.

I'm astonished that I even became a writer. It doesn't feel quite like a real profession. I used to say that I'm still waiting to see what I'm going to do but I'm 73 now, so I guess I can't say that any more!'

Anne Tyler, author of The Accidental Tourist, talking about her new novel A Spool of Blue Thread in the Bookseller

'I became a reader overnight'

5 January 2015

'I became a reader overnight. I remember exactly what happened. I was 14 and went to John Menzies newsagent. Every book that had a vaguely smutty blurb I bought... The only exception to the highbrow erotica was Alan Paton's Cry the Beloved Country. I thought, "This is as boring as shit..." After 40 pages, something started to change. By the end of the day I had read it straight through. I was shaking with emotion. I didn't realise books could do that to you, could make you feel like that.

I was a huge reader, but how to become a writer? Very quickly I developed this idea that I had to reflect my culture. I had to find a way to make literature out of the culture I know.'

Alan Warner, author of The Sopranos and Their Lips Talk of Mischief in the Independent on Sunday

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