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'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