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" My parents were language teachers. They talked about teaching all the time and all their friends were teachers. It was considered a pre-ordained thing that I would go into teaching. "
" I dream a lot, in colour and in sound and scent. Quite a few of my stories have come from dreams. "
" I had a great grandmother who believed in so many strange superstitions. She used to tell the future from the things that catch on to the hem of your skirt when you've been sewing, and different colored threads would mean different things... Of course, all that influenced me quite a lot as a child. "
" I have a tendency to pick up my own challenges. The more difficult something it is, the more I want to try it. "
" It may be something to do with my having been to a girls' school, but I'm far more comfortable making male friendships than female ones. My friends tend to be men and their significant others. "
" For me, the magic of Hawaii comes from the stillness, the sea, the stars. "
" People reveal so much of their mental processes online, simply because the psychological effect of anonymity just means that a whole raft of inhibitions are left alone when people log on. "
" In the old days of literature, only the very thick-skinned - or the very brilliant - dared enter the arena of literary criticism. To criticise a person's work required equal measures of erudition and wit, and inferior critics were often the butt of satire and ridicule. "
" I have an advanced degree in procrastination and another one in paranoia. "
" I can write absolutely anywhere. All I need is a laptop. "
" If you want something you can have it, but you have to do some work. It's the ethic my mother brought me up with. "
" I think if you are an outsider then you are an outsider always. "
" The interesting thing about the Internet is that it has created a kind of alternative circle of friends for people. "
" A little tantrum in real life seems so much bigger online. "
" I tend to write about more than one generation because as a child I had contact with more than one generation; it was normal to be around older people. "
" I think everybody has a secret life. "
" I am not at all a chocoholic. I would rather eat anchovy toast. "
" My heroes and heroines are often unlikely people who are dragged into situations without meaning to become involved, or people with a past that has never quite left them. They are often isolated, introspective people, often confrontational or anarchic in some way, often damaged or secretly unhappy or incomplete. "
" From a very young age my mother persuaded me that I could write for fun, but I had to have a proper job - very good advice. "
" If you want to know what's important to a culture, learn their language. "
" I'm politically inclined towards the left, but I don't like to be in anyone's gang; I'm a bit of a loose cannon. "
" Of course I didn't pioneer the use of food in fiction: it has been a standard literary device since Chaucer and Rabelais, who used food wonderfully as a metaphor for sensuality. "
" I'm phobic about the idea of being constrained. "
" One of the things that writing has taught me is that fiction has a life of its own. Fictional places are sometimes more real than the view from our bedroom window. Fictional people can sometimes become as close to us as our loved ones. "
" I'm insatiably curious. "