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'It either works out or not'

14 August 2017

‘The Woman in Black was my greatest piece of pure luck. I wrote it one summer when my daughter was five. I had childcare for five weeks so carved out time each morning, and wrote it very fast. I thought it was nothing special. It probably would have sunk had it not been picked up by BBC Radio 4's Storytime.

I wasn't involved in the film of The Woman in Black but I loved it all, and Daniel Radcliffe was superb. It is different from the book, but that's as it should be - no writer should expect an adaptation to slavishly stick to the letter...

When I begin a book, I think a lot, make a few notes, then start writing. I could never plot it out, chapter by chapter, as I'd go crazy with boredom. I don't know how creative writing students do so many drafts, I'd run screaming round the room, I usually do one draft, then tidy it up. It either works out or not. If not, I start something else.

Susan Hill, author of The Woman in Black and many other books in The Sunday Telegraph's Stella. Her new book Jacob's Room is Full of Books, is out in October 2017.