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" Ann Radcliffe was an early influence; I devoured her books while I should have been studying for my GCSEs. "
" 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've been surprised that 'Elizabeth is Missing' has been so well received as a crime book. I love mystery stories, and that is what I decided to write. "
" 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 was a 20-something woman living in London and didn't want to write about a 20-something woman living in London! It's an area well covered already, and people would probably have thought it was about me. I decided that if I wrote about an 82-year-old dementia sufferer, then no one could mistake it as a memoir. "
" I used to say I wasn't interested in writing about characters. "
" 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. "
" With novels, you're representing things. You're not explaining. "
" 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. "
" Sometimes people ask, 'If you'd never had a reader, would you carry on writing?' No. "
" I like to go for walks on Wandsworth Common and feed the ducklings. "
" 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 can trace my interest in modern classics to the summer before art college. "
" There are lots of things going on for teenagers, with exam stress, changing friendship groups, becoming independent, and all those hormone changes affecting you. "
" 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. "
" While I was writing 'Elizabeth Is Missing' and struggling with the intricacies of the plot, I told myself the next book would be really simple and linear, and I'd have it all worked out before I set down a single word. "
" I had tried to write about young women in London who had jobs and boyfriends, and it was so tedious. "
" It's a slow process rewriting your own life in your head. I think that's a writerly thing. "
" I loved 'A Lion in the Meadow' by Margaret Mahy. "
" 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. "
" I think I'm too scatty. "
" Like most new writers, I could only hope that one day one publisher might agree to publish one of my books; I couldn't imagine several publishers all wanting to buy the first book I'd written. "
" 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. "
" 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. "
" 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. "
" If you work hard at something, you can forget everything else. "
" I'm not a writer who thinks about writing only for themselves; I do always have a reader in mind. "
" I used to go to the gym with one of my best friends, and we seemed to have the same conversation over and over again. I was always saying, 'I'm still not pregnant, and I still haven't worked out what I'm writing,' and her answer to both was always, 'Just relax!' "
" 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 spend a ridiculous amount on pots, lilacs, and alliums. "
" 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. "