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Comment from the book world in July 2007

July 2007

'Smells, textures, the colour of the light'

30 July 2007

'I can't imagine setting a novel in a place I've never visited. I need smells, textures, the colour of the light. When I wrote a novel set in Antarctica, for example, I went down and lived on a research station for six weeks. It paid dividends. Everyone who has read The Sun at Midnight says that it takes them right there...

I find travel very conducive, particularly travel of the physically uncomfortable or faintly unsafe variety. Lounging at some posh spa wouldn't do the trick at all.'

Rosie Thomas, winner of the Romantic Novelists' Association Prize for the second time with Iris and Ruby in Writers' ForumBritish writers' magazine which is highly recommended for all writers. It features wide range of news and articles which help writers to improve their work and get published:

Keeping a grip on the world

23 July 2007

Ben Vershbow in

'We stand at a crucial juncture, Brad (Paley) says, where we must marshal knowledge from the relevant disciplines - design, the arts, cognitive science, engineering - in order to build tools and interfaces that will help us make sense of the huge masses of information that have been dumped upon us with the advent of computer networks. All the shallow efforts passing as meaning, each pretty piece of infoporn that obfuscates as it titillates, is a drag on this purpose, and a muddying of the principles of "cognitive engineering" that must be honed and mastered if we are to keep a grip on the world.'

'A good book is a good book'

16 July 2007

'I have a problem with the implication that all bestsellers are, by definition, not as worthy as more "serious" books. The only attribute you can truthfully apply to all bestsellers is that they are popular.

And is that such a bad thing? Does a great novel turn bad the moment it passes a certain sales threshold? Does a fine novelist become a sell-out once their books appear on the shelves of Tesco? Of course not...

A good book is a good book no matter what the genre or how many copies it sells. And a bad book remains bad, whatever the pedigree of the author or how many critics fall over each other to praise it. Quality is not always in inverse proportion to the number of copies sold.'

Scott Pack of the Friday Project in The Times

'The only real genre'

9 July 2007

'The idea that thrillers are peripheral to literature drives me nuts. The thriller concept is why humans invented story-telling, thousands of years ago. The world was perilous and full of misery, so they wanted the vicarious experience of surviving danger. It's the only real genre and all the other stuff has grown on the side of it like barnacles...

My agent said it takes 10 years of hard work to be an overnight success. That separates the sheep from the goats. You've got to put out a good, solid book every year because the public expect regularity, Every time I have no clue at all about what I'm going to do. I always think that I'm all washed-up and then every single year I've had an idea.

By the end you're writing for your readers, to supply their fix. It comes down to how you perceive yourself, If you see yourself as an artiste you're in trouble. If you see yourself as an entertainer, you're onto a good thing.'

Lee Child, author of Bad Luck and Trouble and ten other thrillers, in the Sunday Telegraph's Seven

'From "the rag and bone shop of the heart"'

2 July 2007

'I don't think writers choose their subjects. The process seems to work in reverse. An image, a picture unfurls in your imagination, or a line of dialogue, or a situation. You might hear an old song, a nursery rhyme, even a joke, and wonder about the real-life story that inspired it. You might notice something in a newspaper, overhear a conversation on a train. Often, while writing a novel, you'll get the ideas for other books too, since your mind is open to invitations. Yeats said poetry comes from "the rag and bone shop of the heart". Maybe it's the same with novels. But there's nothing mystical about it; it's only a matter of your light being on, like a taxicab awaiting a fare.'

Joseph O'Connor, author of Redemption Falls, in Publishing News