Reading & Writing

Here Come The Sand Men

sand men

I’m really sorry about this but I seem to have another novel coming out this summer, just as you’re getting over the arrival of ‘The Burning Man’. To be fair, I’d been working on it for three years, and it underwent a massive revision after I got notes from a New York editor who’s a […]

What Are You Reading?


Whenever I’m out of London, I read more, partly because it’s quieter almost everywhere else, and because there are no interruptions. London is a ridiculously noisy city, from tannoyed announcements to sirens. I’m back in Barcelona writing a thriller, and as it’s a town that doesn’t raise its sleepy head before 10am there’s always time […]

Why There Are Fewer Original Novels…


Today’s column is a coalescence of several others I’ve been writing and thinking about for a while. It came to a head when I gave a speech at the Southbank Literary Festival about outsider status. I’d written before on the subject, but the speech introduced a number of outsiders from different centuries. The ultimates are […]

How Much Should Writers Expose about Themselves?


I’m currently doing a blog tour and finding it refreshing after years of doing regular press interviews. Instead of some poor exhausted journo trying to file ten stories in one day and not having had the time to even read your book jacket, let alone the book, I’m being asked intelligent and interesting questions by […]

His Name Became An Adjective – Now His Work Has Been Saved.


In America it’s a Rube Goldberg contraption, but here, predating Goldberg, it’s always been – and remains – a Heath Robinson contraption. I seem to have a great many books by the magical Mr Robinson and loved them as a child. Now hundreds of pictures by the illustrator who became a byword for eccentric, ingenious […]

Who Wrote The Most Books Of All Time?


I have three new books out this year. People always accuse me of being prolific, but it’s just the way novels sometimes bunch up in publication, even though they’ve taken years to write. And in the grand scheme of things, I’m really a long way from ‘prolific’. Harper Lee is being discussed all over the […]

Books Are Like Trees: They Should Be Everywhere


I don’t seem to have a naturally addictive nature, except when it comes to books. They appear around me, fall off me, stick to me, and I leave trails of them wherever I go. I only buy jackets that can accommodate a book. I like pubs that have bookshelves and cafes with books in them, […]

How I Ended Up Producing 23 Books In One Year


            …four of which are BRAND SPANKING NEW! Your friendly neighbourhood author is about to attempt the impossible, and I don’t mean watching an entire episode of ‘Gogglebox’. I’ve been writing up a storm for your delectation, partly¬†because I love challenges and also because I feel that right now I’m […]

Why This Book Caused A Very English Outcry


First a bit of an explanation: Because I was born in 1953 I was a New Elizabethan, ie. born in the year of QEII’s coronation. My dates, therefore, match her reign, and I therefore have a fondness for Queen Elizabeth, despite only having ever seen her at the pictures. I mean she was at the […]

The Writer’s Diet


With apologies to my fellow scribes, I really don’t know many British writers who are fit. (I mean healthy, not fanciable.) We sit hunched over screens for a living. We consider time spent exercising to be time wasted. We’re trapped indoors for around six months of the year (at least). If we work at home, […]