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Interviews with authors

Read about what makes some of the world's most famous novelists tick in our Interviews with Authors series.  Recent interviews include Roshi Fernando, Debi Gliori and Sarah Crossan, or scroll through the pages to browse our series archive.

A Quick Word With George Saunders

Lincoln In The Bardo by George Saunders

We managed to grab a quick word with George Saunders, author of the 2017 Man Booker prize winning novel 'Lincoln In The Bardo', for a short interview...

What’s your favourite short story?

‘The Overcoat’ by Nikolai Gogol. It’s funny and sad and I think it’s the way God actually thinks of us, …

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An Interview with Daisy Buchanan

We sat down with Daisy Buchanan at the London Book Fair to discuss her book and why non-fiction was the obvious choice for her...

1. Why did you choose to write a non-fiction book?

I should admit that one of the reasons I wanted to do non-fiction was because I could do this with a good proposal. I …

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An Interview with Mary Watson

A year on from speaking to Mary Watson about her debut The Wren Hunt, we had a chance to ask her some more questions about her writing process and the world she's inhabited for two novels. 

1. For those who don’t know, could you start off by telling us a little bit about your new novel, The …

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Interview with Alexander McCall Smith

Alexander McCall Smith is the author of over 60 books, including the bestselling No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series.

Why do you write?

Like most writers, I write because I feel that I have to. It’s not exactly a compulsion, but it’s quite close to that. Writing makes sense of …

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Interview with Alyson Foster

We interview Alyson Foster and discuss her debut novel God is an Astronaut.

This is your debut novel. How does it feel? 

Honestly? Sort of surreal. Everyone who wants to be a writer imagines the day they’ll finally hold their finished book in their hands. Part of you believes it will never …

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Interview with Benjamin Zephaniah

Benjamin Zephaniah is known as a performance poet, but that’s only one of his talents – he’s also a reggae artist, children’s writer, novelist and playwright. His journey from an approved school and a prison sentence for burglary to international recognition and a nomination for the …

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Interview with C.L. Taylor

 You’ll be speaking on ‘establishing pace and plot’ at the ‘How to Get Published’ conference. In light of today’s publishing market, at what stage of the writing process does this plotting enter the structure of your novels and how does this affect your overall writing process?

My …

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Interview with Catherine Quinn

Catherine Quinn

Catherine Quinn, bestselling author of The Thief Taker, tells Writers & Artists what inspires her to write and shares her advice for writers looking to get published.

A couple of easy questions to begin with…First off, what inspires you to write? 

I always find these kind of questions …

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Interview with Claire Freedman

Claire Freedman, picture book editor

Claire Freedman writes funny, silly, engaging picture books - and here she tells us what inspires her, how to cope with rejection and what she feels makes a successful picture book.

‘Spider Sandwiches’ is your latest book release; for those who don’t know, can you tell us a little more about …

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Interview with Claire McGowan

Writers & Artists sit down with crime novelist Claire McGowan to discuss the importance of dialogue and her path to publication.

Claire's writing inspiration

I think that I've always written most of my life. I've always been the kind of person that has a lot of ideas. I don't know if everyone has …

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Interview with Debi Gliori

Debi Gliori, author of What's the Time, Mr Wolf? talks to us about her illustration style, what inspires her and what advice she has for aspiring author-illustrators.

How did you find your illustration style? Has it changed over time?

My 'style' if you can call it that, found me. At art college I …

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Interview with Emma Chapman

Emma Chapman

Writers & Artists interview Emma Chapman, author of How To Be A Good Wife, on her debut novel, finding an agent and the benefits of writing courses.

Your debut novel, How To Be A Good Wife, was published recently. To begin with, could you tell those who don’t know a little about the book?

How …

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Interview with Ian Rankin

Creator of the dogged and often hard-drinking Edinburgh cop, Detective Inspector John Rebus, Ian Rankin is among the most successful crime novelists of our day. Since his first book was published in 1987, Ian’s work has been translated into 22 languages and is a fixture in bestseller lists …

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Interview with Jane Green

Bestselling novelist Jane Green is the author of Straight Talking, Jemima J, Mr Maybe and Second Chance among others. Her novel Girl Friday (Dune Road in the USA) was published in June 2009.

Why do you write?

I write because otherwise the stories in my head would drive me mad. And I write …

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Interview with Joanna Nadin

Acclaimed children's and YA author Joanna Nadin talking about the importance of grabbing your readers from the off. 

You’ll be speaking on ‘first chapters and immersing readers into your written world’ at the ‘How to Get Published’ conference. In light of today’s publishing market, …

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Interview with Joanna Trollope

Joanna Trollope is one of the most well-known English authors writing today. Her contemporary novels are bestsellers, and several have been turned into television dramas, including The Rector’s Wife and Other People’s Children. We ask her about the creative process, and what tips she has …

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Interview with Justine Picardie

Justine Picardie is the author of If the Spirit Moves You: Life and Love After Death, the novel Wish I May and My Mother’s Wedding Dress.

Why do you write?

I write because it feels like I have to – as if I have no other choice but to write. I’ve always written – I was the sort of …

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Interview with Kate Mosse

Kate Mosse, author of bestselling novel Labyrinth, talks about her life as a busy author, broadcaster and journalist.

Why do you write?

Because it’s so satisfying a thing to work at – a story, characters, to create a place and tone – and pull a novel into life. Putting the …

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Interview with Katherine Rundell


Earlier this month we asked award-winning children's author Katherine Rundell some questions about her exciting new novel The Wolf Wilder, and also about the processes she goes through as a writer.

Can you tell us a bit about The Wolf Wilder...?

It's about a girl who lives with her mother in just …

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Interview with Kathy Lette

Kathy Lette is the author of ten novels including Nip’n’Tuck, Girls’ Night Out and Dead Sexy. Her latest book, To Love, Honour and Betray, is published by Black Swan.

Why do you write?

I only write because it’s cheaper than therapy.

What other novelists do you admire?

All …

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Interview with Kendare Blake

Kendare Blake

We interview young adult fiction author Kendare Blake - on her advice to writers, dealing with rejection and the benefits of creative writing courses.

Firstly, can you tell us a little bit about your books?  

I can! Sleepwalk Society is a contemporary tale about figuring out your future, Anna …

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Interview with Kerry Hudson

Kerry Hudson

Writers & Artists speak to Kerry Hudson about the release of her second novel, Thirst, what inspires her writing and the best advice she can give to aspiring authors.

Lovely to speak to you again! Can you tell us a little about your new novel, Thirst, for those who may not know? 

Lovely to …

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Interview with Laurence Anholt

Laurence Anholt has written hundreds of books for children, many in collaboration with his wife Catherine. They are regarded as one of the most successful author and illustrator teams for children's books. From writing Seriously Silly Stories to depicting the lives of famous artists such as Van …

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Interview with Liz Martinez

Author of The Everyday Witch Liz Martinez shares her story of landing a publishing deal.

What does it mean to be a writer?

There was a time recently when I started referring to myself as a writer, rather than an ex-lawyer. I think that was a turning point. It’s a state of mind, a …

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Interview with Maeve Binchy

Maeve Binchy’s work is so well known that she will need no introduction to most of our readers. A former teacher and journalist on the Irish Times, she was first an incredibly popular newspaper columnist and – after the publication of Light a Penny Candle in 1982 – a bestselling …

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Interview with Mary Hooper

*Interview from 2011*

Mary Hooper has written over 70 books for children and young adults. No wonder she says that there’s never enough time to indulge in writer’s block!

Why do you write?

Writing is the only thing I’ve ever been any good at. Reading about real people inspires me… …

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Interview with Melissa Harrison

Clay by Melissa Harrison

We speak to Melissa Harrison on her debut novel Clay, the benefits of using social media and the struggle of writing the second novel, whilst she gives us her invaluable advice for aspiring authors. 

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

When I was very young I wanted to be an eye surgeon – …

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Interview with Neil Gaiman

Bestselling author Neil Gaiman has long been one of the top writers in modern comics, as well as writing books for readers of all ages. He is listed in the Dictionary of Literary Biography as one of the top ten living post-modern writers, and is a prolific creator of prose, poetry, film, …

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Interview with Parker Bilal

Parker Bilal is the pen-name of Jamal Mahjoub. Born in London and brought up in Khartoum, Sudan, Mahjoub originally trained as a geologist and has written six critically acclaimed literary novels which have been shortlisted and awarded a number of prizes. His works include: In the Hour of Signs, …

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Interview with poet George Szirtes

George Szirtes is a poet and translator. He has published several books and won various prizes including The Faber Memorial and the TS Eliot prizes. 

Why are you a poet?

It’s hard to say why.

I began writing poetry quite against expectations at school when I was in the sixth …

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Interview with R.M. Romero

The Dollmaker of Kraków is your first novel. What is the story of your journey to publication? 

I’ve been writing stories since I was about eleven and had actually written 4 or 5 novels before The Dollmaker of Kraków. Those books now live a literal steamer trunk in my basement or, …

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Interview With Roshi Fernando

Roshi Fernando is the prize-winning author of Homesick. Here, she tells us what inspires her to write, what projects she has coming up and her advice for aspiring writers. 

Why do you write?

My daughter put this very poetically: she said ‘for you, writing is like when someone’s in the middle …

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Interview with Sally Gardner

Writers & Artists talk to Sally Gardner about the writing process, finding inspiration and the benefits of short chapters.

Sally on finding inspiration to write

 I think I was always born with a head full of stories and I - my first conscious memory is telling a story and loving a story and …

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Interview with Sally Green

We spoke Sally Green, author of the best-selling Half Bad trilogy about various aspects of the writing process. How does a writer develop their characters and why is world building a hard skill to get right? 

Sally on what inspires her to write...

It always starts with character for me. As soon …

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Interview With Sarah Crossan

Read our interview with Sarah Crossan, author of BREATHE, The Weight Of Water - a book that has been shortlisted for (deep breath) the Carnegie Medal, the Hazelgrove Book Award, the CBI Awards, the WeRead Prize, UKLA Book Award and CLPE Poetry Award - Apple and Rain, and One. Here, she tells us …

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Interview with Sarah J. Maas

Sarah J Maas

In an interview with Sarah J Maas, YA author of The Throne of Glass books, she discusses writing fantasy, what inspires her to write & building up a huge online fan base - before getting a publishing deal.

What inspires you to write? Are there any books or writers that have influenced your work?

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Interview with Simon Stephens

Ahead of his day-long writing workshop at Bloomsbury Publishing on 11 April 2015, playwright Simon Stephens speaks about his recent theatre-going, his early influences, and what's up next.

What’s the best play that you’ve seen recently?

Alistair McDowall’s POMONA at the Orange tree felt like a …

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Interview with Sonia Purnell

We spoke with historian and author Sonia Purnell about 'First Lady: The Life and Wars of Clementine Churchill', and picked up some useful writing tips on things to consider when working on a biography.

On finding the balance between research and writing

'Research is so important with the biography. …

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Interview with Stephen Kelman

Bloomsbury author Stephen Kelman offers his advice to aspiring writers. Stephen is the author of Pigeon English, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2011, The Guardian First Book Award 2011 and The Desmond Elliott Prize 2011.

Starting Out

When did you first start writing …

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Interview with Stephen Poliakoff

*This is an article from 2009*

After a ten-year absence, Britain’s leading dramatist Stephen Poliakoff has returned to the cinema with Glorious 39, a tense wartime thriller starring Romola Garai and Bill Nighy. Mark Dudgeon asks the award-winning writer/director about the craft of screenwriting …

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Interview with Suzanne Joinson

Suzanne Joinson is the author of A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar. She works in the literature department of the British Council, and regularly travels widely across the Middle East, North Africa, China and Europe. In 2007 she won the New Writing Ventures award for Creative Non-Fiction for …

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Interview with Thomas E. Kennedy

Thomas E. Kennedy focuses on a question that has empowered him – and could also empower you – as a writer.

When do you become a writer?

When you’re starting out and have published little, maybe nothing at all yet, it is hard to believe in yourself as a writer. Back when I’d only …

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Interview with Tim Kevan

Tim Kevan’s ‘BabyBarista and the Art of War’ started life online and is now published by Bloomsbury. Here he explains what blogging can do for an author, and why it always pays to check your spam.

Are you a barrister who writes, or a writer who practises law?

Having spent the time …

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Interview with Vanessa Gebbie

Vanessa Gebbie has won numerous awards for her short fiction including a Bridport Prize. An extract of her novel, The Coward’s Tale, won the Daily Telegraph’s ‘Novel in a Year.’ A.N. Wilson chose it as his novel of the year 2011 in the Financial Times, describing it as “an …

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Interview with Vassos Alexander

We spoke with marathon runner, author and BBC Radio 2 sports broadcaster Vassos Alexander about his book, 'Don't Stop Me Now', a book dedicated to the joy of running. But which proved harder - running a marathon or writing a book?

Vassos' inspiration for Don't Stop Me Now

'If some bloke like me can …

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Interview with Wyl Menmuir

Our How To Get Published conference with the charity Literature Works is just three weeks away. In the run up to the event, Literature Works have interviewed our brilliant line up of speakers to give you a taste of the insider information they'll be sharing.

First up is novelist Wyl Menmuir, whose …

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Kerry Hudson on Voice

Author Kerry Hudson talks to Writers' & Artists' about what it means for a writer to find their voice, along with her top tips on writing and the different paths to publication that writers can take. 

Kerry's inspiration for writing 

Often, the reason I start writing about a …

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Life-Changing Learning: interviews with Carys Bray and Lisa Whenham-Bossy

The Open University’s (OU) national campaign Life-Changing Learning is showing the difference that part-time study can bring to people looking to transform their lives and careers. Highly acclaimed authors, and former OU students, Carys Bray and Lisa Whenham-Bossy, have been chosen to …

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Q&A with Melinda Salisbury

We spoke to author Melinda Salisbury about the writing process behind her latest book, Hold Back The Tide, as well as her top tips on world building and writing villains.

1. Your new book Hold Back The Tide was published at the beginning of March. What’s it about? And where did the idea come from?

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