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" A sentence that clots in your mouth is unlikely to flow in your mind. "
" Normally, I'm a grumpy old man - whenever I read about celebrity, I start to grind my teeth and pull my hair; it seems synonymous with idiocy. "
" Disconnection or alienation from the past has political consequences. "
" I'm going to get hated for saying this, but honestly, fantasy is easy to write because you can do anything. It's like when Raymond Chandler brings in a bloke with a gun when he's stuck - in fantasy, up pops a wizard, and off we go. "
" If I were to try to describe the way in which I write, the only word I would use without qualification is 'slowly.' "
" Everyone who sits on a sofa watching 'Match of the Day' is a top soccer expert, as you know. So if you start to worry about such people reading your story and saying, 'That'd never happen' you're going to freeze up. You're writing fiction, and your characters can do whatever you need them to do. "
" History is the heavy traffic that prevents us from crossing the road. We wait, more or less patiently, for it to pause, so that we can get to the liquor store or the laundromat or the burger bar. "
" It's extremely difficult to describe interestingly what happens on the pitch. Thousands of journalists write millions of words every week trying to do it, so your chances of avoiding cliche are very slim. And you're trying to write fiction, not a match report. "
" I see genres as generating sets of rules or conventions that are only interesting when they are subverted or used to disguise the author's intent. My own way of doing this is to attempt a sort of whimsical alchemy, whereby seemingly incompatible genres are brought into unlikely partnerships. "
" I'm not a great reader of historical fiction; it's not my favourite genre. "
" Football is a bit like chess: it's not just the piece being moved that matters; it's also the effect that move has on all the other pieces. "
" Remember that a good football novel has to have the same ingredients as any other good novel: drama, convincing and interesting characters, a strong story-line, and some kind of magic in the writing. "
" What I value in books is lucidity. I want the language to be rich; I love lexical fireworks on the page, but I have to know what it means. I want to be surprised and delighted, not merely baffled. "
" I don't really see any barrier between teenage fiction and adult literature. "
" I can ask for a £25,000 advance, but then you spend a year writing the book, and £25,000 is a loan against sales, and you can easily spend five years earning out. So that's £25,000 for six years. "
" When I'm working, I always read stuff that's as far away from what I'm working on as possible, so I'll read American crime fiction at bedtime, or Emily Dickinson. "
" Exposure is about, among other things, the ferocity of the press and the way - in an echo of some of Shakespeare's plays - the modern media creates heroes to destroy them. "
" I'm not sure that when I read 'Treasure Island' for the first time, when I was about 10, I understood all the words or what was going on. But that didn't stop me reading it, and I certainly didn't forget it. "
" Fundamentalism - of any variety - is a form of illiteracy, in that it asserts that it is necessary to read only one book. "
" I didn't consciously make the decision to write an adult novel. I didn't think of it as my riposte to the YA genre. "
" It was weird - writing is a stupid thing to do. I come up here in the morning to a pleasant room in the roof of my house and imagine I'm a black South American football superstar; then I have to imagine I'm a female pop celebrity who's pregnant. It's a completely mad way to spend your time. "
" I worry about children not having a sense of any direct connection to the past. "
" Benches and books have things in common beyond the fact that they're generally to do with sitting. Both are forms of public privacy, intimate spaces widely shared. "
" I have to make little movies. I have to sit and film. "
" Teen authors love to flirt with taboo, to grapple - sensitively - with dark and frightening issues, and there is nothing darker and more frightening than cancer. "