One of the reasons I wrote 'The Fall' is that climbing's more than a sport, it's a way of life. When you're in it, it's all you think about.
I was a boarding school product from the age of eight, and I hated it. Though I do have a theory that boarding school is good training for writers because it's so desperately lacking in privacy: you make space for yourself by having an interior life.
Pundits always have something to write about; the novelist just has a blank screen.
Sometimes I think that novelists suffer from P.C.S.: Perpetual Childhood Syndrome.
Guernsey itself was overcrowded, but its cliffs were utterly empty. I spent a wonderful year with a friend, climbing them. It was sheer magic: you went from this pretty, busy village of an island to the sea cliffs and heard nothing but the gulls and the waves.
I find it very easy to be alone. I'm a writer, for heaven's sakes!
Most of those people who saw themselves as literary types at university became bank managers.
Only occasionally do I read new fiction. Most of my reading is heavily dictated by what I'm writing at the time.
When writing fiction, you only have to know enough to be convincing on the page. I mean really convincing, of course - but you don't need academic depth.
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