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'The best I could come up with at the time'

7 July 2003

'Things don't change as much as we grow into what we've always been. As bad as the lives we've had, we wouldn't be the people we are today without them...

'I don't know until the last two or three pages how the book will end. With this one, I woke up at 1.30 yesterday morning and had in my head the last scene. So I'll finish that... and then maybe have a two-week gap, and start another. I love to write...

'When I read back, my books all seem different to how I had remembered; I don't recall writing that prose. It can be a good feeling; I recognise the worth of a line more after some time has passed. I never feel regrets; everything I've done was the best I could come up with at the time.'

James Lee Burke, interviewed by Euan Ferguson in the Observer