Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Quickfire Questions with...Imogen Robertson




Imogen Robertson was born in Darlington in 1973 and is a TV, film and radio director. Her first novel, 'Instruments of Darkness', is a historical thriller set in 1780 and will be published by Headline in May 2009. The opening section of the book was chosen as one of the winners in the Daily Telegraph's 'First thousand words of a novel' competition in 2007, which inspired her to write the rest of it. She also received a commendation in the National Poetry Competition in 2005. She lives in London with a lot of books and a cello and is currently writing full time.


Longhand first or straight to computer?
Computer for prose and longhand for poetry. I'd never have a writing career without spellcheck and the cut and paste function.

Poetry or prose?
I like both. Same way I like pies and cakes. Never, never make me choose.

The hardest thing about writing is…
Starting. After that the hardest thing is stopping.

First drafts are…
The fun bit.

My underlying themes are…
Sex and death, same as everyone else!




The writing achievement I am most proud of is…
Getting a two-book deal with Headline. The lovely, lovely people.

I wouldn't have got this far without…
A great deal of patience from my friends and family. Oh, and whining a lot.


I'm most inspired by…
Long walks by the Thames and hearing people talk about their enthusiasms.

My shameful writing secret is…
I smoke like a chimney when I'm writing, and I'm afraid if I give up I won’t be able to do the work.

My writing dream is…
To earn enough to pay the mortgage by looking out of the window and making things up.


The most exciting thing about writing is…
When characters take over and do things you didn't expect; or the moments when the right word seems to drop right out of the sky and land in the right place in your sentence.


Which 3 writers, dead or alive, would you invite to dinner?
Dostoevsky, Tess Gerritsen and Georgette Heyer. Not sure they'd all get on, but I'd enjoy it.

Independent bookshop or Amazon?
Independents are the best places to browse; Amazon's where I go when I know just what I'm after and want it NOW!

You really must read…
All of William Boyd, Akmatova and Hilary Mantel's Beyond Black

If I were to try writing in another genre it would be…
Fantasy, or some brilliant semi-auto-biographical work of dodgey erotica. Actually, that's pretty much the same thing, isn't it?

Email or phone?
Email as a rule. I have a bit of a phone phobia...

The best thing about being a published author is…
Signing copies, and having the necessary cash to write full time. That's just paradise.

A writer should never…
Get lazy.

If I could pass on any tip it would be…
Challenge your work. Always ask is this good enough? Am I engaging the reader, am I delivering, are my characters behaving like themselves or am I forcing them into things for the sake of my plot? Is this real?

If I could go back and do it all again I would…
Make all the same mistakes. It's how we learn.

Thanks to Rebecca Kay for the author photo. And to Susie for the interview!

11 comments:

Dreamers Dream said...

this is my first time in your blog
and im like some how attached to it.
you litterally
talk the talk
and i like that.
:)

-hailey

Samantha Tonge said...

Thanks, hailey:) Look forward to seeing you here...

Interesting interview, Imogen! I can definitely relate to the whining:)

Sam

Susie Nott-Bower said...

Thanks, Imogen! I really like what you say about starting over again and making the same mistakes. So true, so painful and so necessary!
Susiex

CarolineG said...

Great answers, Imogen. [And welcome DD!}

Isn;t it funny how so many of us share that phone-hating thing? Email for me every time...

Nik's Blog said...

Great answers and great questions. Thanks folks.

Nik

Gillian McDade said...

I too could never live without the cut and paste function Imogen!

Great answers :)

Lydia said...

I'm loving the bit about daydreaming, making things up and being paid for it. I feel exactly the same way - shame about it not paying the mortgage! I can really relate to the whining as well (and so can my family!) One of the great things about this blog is that we can all whine to each other and hopefully understand. Congrats on the book deal, Imogen and best of luck with whatever comes next.

Caroline R said...

Congrats on the book, Imogen - it sounds great!

I'm another one who hates using the phone.

Geraldine Ryan said...

Look forward to reading your book, Imogen. Sounds right up my street. Funny how so many writers of my acquaintance share your phone phobia!

Jenny Juniper said...

It's my first time too, Imogen. We share the same surname. I appreciate what you said about always challenging yourself in writing and never get lazy. Thank you!
Jenny

LJ Roberts said...

I am on page 56 of "Instruments of Darkness" and just ordered a signed copy of "Anatomy of Murder" from Goldsboro. This American is thrilled to have found your books.