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" A bit of perspective and life experience isn't a bad thing. "
" It's helpful to get feedback on your work, and I think you learn a lot from reading other people's work and giving them feedback. "
" I had been thinking about social awkwardness and about people you meet who are not bad people - there is nothing wrong with them, but they are just a little bit awkward, and it makes you feel uncomfortable, and it makes you want to bring the encounter to an end. I thought, 'Is there a reason for that? What has contributed to their demeanour?' "
" I know some writers are meticulous planners, but I'm not one of them. "
" I've always found Glasgow to be a wonderful city - warm and funny and full of kindness. "
" The skill of a gifted actor, their ability to interpret and develop a character and truly bring her or him to life, is one that I admire enormously. "
" I love 19th century fiction and, in particular, fiction written by and about women. "
" I wanted to write about the transformative power of small acts of kindness. An old man falls in the street, you stop and make sure he's OK. Or even smaller acts than that, though - buying someone a cup of coffee, telling them their hair looks nice - sometimes you don't realise the transformative effect on people. I wanted to celebrate that. "
" I don't come to London very often. "
" As a little girl, I used to write stories, but by my teenage years, I got out of the habit. "
" Even with the most horrendous things that happen and the tremendous pain that people have to deal with, they still laugh, because I think that's what it means to be human. "
" Loneliness is a huge issue for both individuals and for society. It's taken a long time for the issue to be treated seriously and for us to begin to understand the impact it can have. "
" This may sound strange, but although I feel like I know everything about my characters, the brand of shampoo they use, how many cavities they have, their greatest fear, I don't actually see their faces. "
" I started doing a Ph.D., and then I thought, 'I don't really want to spend all this time on my own in the library.' "
" If I've helped fuel the debate on loneliness in some small way, that is wonderful. "
" I'd make a terrible casting director. "
" The workplace can be a good place to find opportunities to socialise, but what if you don't meet any like-minded people there, or what if you work alone? Is it, somewhat counter-intuitively, easier to find yourself lonely in a city than in a small town or village? "
" We can all fight against loneliness by engaging in random acts of kindness. "
" If you start a new career at 40, you've still got another 35 years to go. "
" Not to sound too Pollyanna-ish, but I think most people are decent, caring human beings. You don't necessarily see that reflected in fiction maybe, because possibly it's perceived as not having much dramatic potential. "
" I don't listen to music when I write. If I do, I usually end up giving it my whole attention, which means, unfortunately, I don't get much work done! "
" 'Eleanor' was so much fun to write, because there's a brutal honesty about her. She's got no filters and no concept of social norms. "
" I wanted to show platonic friendship between men and women, because I think it is underutilised in fiction. "
" If you break things down to goodies and baddies, the baddies are always a bit more alluring in fiction, and that's true from a narrative point of view. But I wanted to write a novel about real life, and real life is a bit more nuanced than that. "
Life Is A
" I was hurtling towards 40, and I'd always wanted to write. It does focus your mind, heading towards that big birthday. If there is anything you think you want to do, you think, 'I probably should have a go now!' "