Foto: Fairlie Atkinson
I am really glad you’ve accepted my interview. Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions.
My pleasure. Thank you so much for asking!
Can you tell us a bit more about how you became a writer?
I’ve been writing as long as I can remember. I never did anything seriously about it until I was at university doing a doctorate in English Literature: I shared an office with a woman who was looking for a literary agent for her work, and so I learned from her how publishing worked and started querying agents myself. I signed with one right at the end of my degree, and from then on it was what I wanted most in the world.
Was it difficult for the first book to find a publisher?
Yes and no! Unlikely Escape was the second book I wrote after signing with my agent–the first failed to find a publisher. We sent it out to editors, and it stayed out on submission for ten very long months. I’m not sure how many publishers turned it down, but it was many. In the end, though, the editor who offered was the very one we had sent it to, so it all worked out for the best.
Could you describe literature in three words?
Words. Meaning. Possibilities.
Is there a book you would never read? Why?
I think I would read any book, in the right circumstances. I’ve never met a book I haven’t at least learned from, even if I haven’t liked it.
What’s your favorite book?
Oh, that’s impossible! I have so many favourite books and so many favourite quotes. But if you force me to choose, I’m always going to choose The Lord of the Rings, and my favourite quote from it is always going to be the moment in The Return of the King when Sam sees the star above Mordor: „For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.“
EBooks or paper print?
What inspires you?
Honestly, reading other books, either fiction or nonfiction, or watching television and films. Unlikely Escape came from reading a lot of Victorian novels and a lot of literary theory, but it also came from reading and watching a lot of beautifully written sibling relationships and wanting to try to write one of my own.
Imagine you were given the opportunity to meet a book character in real life. Who would that be?
Paddington Bear from Michael Bond’s books, because who wouldn’t want to meet Paddington Bear?
What’s your worst nightmare?
Apart from all the big, life-threatening that would be anyone’s worst nightmare–I’m going to say, getting on the wrong train. I love travelling by train, but every time I’m completely paranoid about getting on the wrong one and ending up in the middle of nowhere.
The best decision of your life was?
To go to university in Wellington when I left school.
I can’t wait to read your next book. Are you currently working on a project? Is there any release date to reveal?
My next book is out June 21 in the UK and June 23 in the US. It’s called A DECLARATION OF THE RIGHTS OF MAGICIANS, and it’s the first part of an alternate history that retells the French Revolution, the Haitian Revolution and the British abolition movement in a world with magic.