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"Will this make sense in Brazil?"

13 October 2014

'I think the worst thing you can do when you start to write is think: "Will this make sense in Brazil?" I actively tried not to write in a way that felt unnatural or to twist things, cut out cultural references, alter the sense of humour, or have any of those cliched notions about what might appeal to a French audience or a Spanish audience. I am aware of the expectations of people in Sweden and Brazil and the US, but it's crazy to let them interfere.

You can only hope that the stories you write are universal enough to make sense. I have this nightmare that I'll go to press junkets and people will say: "I didn't enjoy this book as much as One Day, but tell me where the idea came from". I didn't want to be defensive about it. I'm sure some people won't enjoy it as much as they enjoyed One Day, but I feel really fond of it and I really feel it is different - I am pleased it is.

Writing a book is something you do alone, whereas films are collaborative. If Us ever has a life in film I would never write the script because I think authors can lack the ruthlessness and the objectivity you need to develop a script. It is very demanding, and as the creator you feel as if you should have some sort of a trump card when it comes to decisions but film isn't like that.'

David Nicholls, author of One Day and Us in the Bookseller