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" A boyfriend made me a hammock in Richmond Park once. That was lovely - although I ended up getting a tick on my stomach from the deer. "
" The characters in a novel are made up, figments of the writer's imagination. I'm sure this won't come as a surprise to anyone, and it's not surprising to me either, but knowing this, feeling this, definitely made writing my second book harder. "
" Several members of my family have, or have had, one form of dementia or another. I really wanted to explore what it might like in fiction, but I didn't know how to start. "
" I think I'm too scatty. "
" I used to say I wasn't interested in writing about characters. "
" I'm not a writer who thinks about writing only for themselves; I do always have a reader in mind. "
" When I was writing my first novel, 'Elizabeth is Missing,' I was writing the only novel I had ever written and writing about the only protagonist I'd ever written about. Because of this, I didn't think of her as a construct. Maud was real. "
" I tried to help a shirtless man who was being arrested in Starbucks. He obviously wasn't right in the head, but the police thought I was trying to make things worse. "
" I love writing dialogue - it's when I really lose myself in my work. I love reading it, too, when it's good and rings true. "
" I found 'The Face Of Another' by Kobo Abe disappointing despite the excellent, gothic premise: a man who's terrible facial scarring leads him to create a perfect mask. "
" Penelope Fitzgerald never fails to surprise: her language is clever and elegant, her settings are unusual, her characters are unpredictable, and I am always caught out by a line or moment which makes me laugh out loud. "
" I was very worried about whether I could do it or not. I mean, how arrogant - here I am in my 20s trying to write from the point of view of a woman in her 80s. "
Point Of View
" I really admire Ana Mendieta. She was a Cuban American artist who died the year I was born and whose work examines violence, feminism, and belonging. Her art is always brave and visually arresting and vibrates with meaning. "
" It's a slow process rewriting your own life in your head. I think that's a writerly thing. "
" I have a study at the back of the house, overlooking our garden. It's tiny, just wide enough to fit my desk in. The walls are covered with pin boards and art postcards from galleries all over the world, including Tate, MoMA, and Lenbachhaus. "
" Ann Radcliffe was an early influence; I devoured her books while I should have been studying for my GCSEs. "
" When you are in the midst of writing a book, I think it is important to touch base every day. If I wasn't writing something, I would be reading back what I'd already written. I did take a month off writing at one point and found it really difficult to get back into the world I'd created. "
" Writing is the thing that pervades my whole day - I'm always wondering how I might describe something or improve my understanding. I'm constantly trying to remember an eavesdropped conversation or an idea for a story. "
" I like to go for walks on Wandsworth Common and feed the ducklings. "
" People always want to give you advice about parenting. People who you've never met before will tell you you're doing something wrong. And it's quite similar in writing. People forget that you're a human; they just want to give you their advice. "
" Sometimes people ask, 'If you'd never had a reader, would you carry on writing?' No. "
" When I was very small, I loved 'Meg And Mog' by Helen Nicoll and Jan Pienkowski. I had all the books and remember going to see the theatre production. "
" With novels, you're representing things. You're not explaining. "
" If you work hard at something, you can forget everything else. "
" I feel like Mills and Boon saved my life. It was a way of not living. I read a lot of other books as well, but they were definitely the best for just switching my brain off, not having to deal with reality. "
" I loved 'A Lion in the Meadow' by Margaret Mahy. "
" There are lots of things going on for teenagers, with exam stress, changing friendship groups, becoming independent, and all those hormone changes affecting you. "
" Reading about what a digital native thinks of the Internet is like reading about what it's like to blink: it's kind of boring. "
" I had so many people in my family with dementia that it felt like it belonged to me in a way. I feel like the same with teenage depression because I went through it. I feel like I'm allowed to write about it; it's mine. "
" I spent a lot of time researching dementia, read papers on the subject, and also found a lot of dementia diaries on the Internet which were a great help in getting an insight into the disease. "
" Mark Haddon's 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time' was published while I was trying to work out how to write 'Elizabeth Is Missing,' and reading the story of that impaired amateur detective gave me the licence I needed to attempt one of my own. "