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'Writing can take me out of myself'

8 December 2014

'I grew up in London for the first 10 years, then my parents divorced, which was agonising. But it was while I was at boarding-school that I made the connection between putting my mind into some imaginative world and finding solace for homesickness and sadness. If I did that, I felt better. It would be like crying. I discovered this miraculous thing that has held true all my life, which is that writing can take me out of myself to such an extent that it's a great palliative for bad times. I'm not one of those writers who goes around writing things down. I've an insane belief that the things that are going to be necessary for my writing, that are going to inspire stories, are the thing I'm going to remember.

In a sense writers live their lives twice over. We live in a day-to-day life, but our minds are always turning over the possibility of the transmutation of that life into something else. If, for some reason, I couldn't be a writer any more, my life would seem rather thin to me, sort of without substance.'

Rose Tremain, author of Restoration and The American Lover, in the Sunday Times magazine