I'm delighted to welcome the author to Random Things today. Rob has agreed to answer some questions and is also offering two signed copies of The Second Life of Amy Archer to readers of the blog.
It's really easy to enter the competition, you must be a follower of this blog and it's for UK readers only - complete the Rafflecopter widget at the end of this article. The competition will stay open for 7 days.
What are you reading at the moment?
I try and alternate fiction and non-fiction. I’ve just finished Lucy Worsley’s ‘Courtiers’ about the goings on at the Georgian court. Before that it was Diane Setterfield’s Bellman & Black which was wonderful. I have a huge to be read pile and try and read in order but have to confess that Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch has just elbowed its way to the top of the pile. I’m 30 pages in and hooked.
Do you read reviews of your novels? Do you take them seriously?
I do read the reviews, yes! I think that if someone has taken the time to read my book and then gone to the trouble of writing down their thoughts about it, I owe it to them to listen. I’ve had some great reviews, and some rotten ones – an ending like the one in my book was always going to draw some sharp criticism. But every review is useful, however much it praises - or stings.
How long does it take to write a novel?
The Second Life of Amy Archer took about 10 months in all. My second book, The Prophecy of Bees, has taken longer than that already – and it isn’t even finished yet! By the time it is, I expect it would have taken 16 months.
Do you have any writing rituals?
I always clean my glasses before I start work each day. And I clean the computer screen and keyboard between each draft. I don’t always remember to back my work up which has made for some scary moments.
What was your favourite childhood book?
The Man Who Didn’t Wash his Dishes by Phyllis Krasilovsky. It’s a very simple story about a man who never washes up until eventually he can’t get into the house for dirty dishes. It features in my novel – like Amy, I kept taking the book out of the library over and over again. Unlike Amy though, my reasons for doing so were far less sinister.
Name one book that made you laugh?
The Catcher in the Rye – J D Salinger. Most of Salinger’s work brings a smile to my face at some point – usually right before he socks me in the belly with some telling insight about human nature.
Name one book that made you cry?
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis de Bernieres. Such a sweet and tender but gripping story. It contains one of the best definitions/descriptions of love I’ve ever read.
Which fictional character would you like to meet?
The title character from Mary Chase’s Pulitzer prize winning play, Harvey. He’s a 6’3” invisible rabbit.
Which book would you give to your best friend as a present?
Any of the books in the Post Secret range. It’s an on-going community art project where people send in their secrets on a postcard – and create fantastic works of art in doing so. It’s story telling at its most succinct, often absolutely gut wrenching but also uplifting. There are updates each week at www.postsecret.com
Are you inspired by any particular author or book?
I’m inspired by anybody who manages to sit down and complete a book, regardless of genre. It’s such a commitment and leap of faith. But if I had to pick one writer who inspired me to actually get on with it and take it seriously, it would be Sarah Waters. Her story telling is immaculate.
What is your guilty pleasure read?
ALL of my reading is a guilty pleasure as I feel I should be writing a book instead of reading one!
Who are your favourite authors?
Sarah Waters, Lionel Shriver, Graham Swift, Jon McGregor, Edward Hogan
What book have you re-read?
I’ve only ever re-read two books in my whole life. We Need to Talk About Kevin – Lionel Shriver and The Catcher in the Rye, J D Salinger.
What book have you given up on?
The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy. I just couldn’t get into it at all. I hate abandoning books but it was just unavoidable in this case.
A huge thanks to Rob for joining me here today, and also for offering the two signed copies of his book as prizes. I'm really looking forward to reading The Prophecy of Bees. Rob has a really interesting website at www.rspateman.com and is also on Twitter
For your chance to win a signed copy of The Second Life of Amy Archer, just follow this blog and enter your details in the Rafflecopter widget below - UK entries only. GOOD LUCK!
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