Thursday, 17 June 2010
Quickfire Questions with best selling author Amanda Craig
Which 3 writers, living or dead, would you invite to dinner?
Shakespeare, Dickens and Keats. Shakespeare because it would be like meeting God; Dickens because he's the Shakespeare of novelists and would be tremendous company, and Keats is my third great hero not least for struggling on up Parnassus despite the most dreadful disappointments and ill-health, and because he would have so loved to meet Shakespeare.
What's your favourite writing snack?
I wish I could say it is something recherche like quails eggs but it's Divine chocolate.
Longhand or computer?
Longhand for my diary, which I keep every day for planning, notes and interviews for novels, computer for actual writing. It helps get over the terror of the blank page.
Tabloid or broadsheet?
There's little difference these days, but broadsheet (The Telegraph). It's been stimulating to read the paper that was in opposition to the existing Government, but it also has the best news coverage. But I also read The Times and The Indepdendent on other days, and the Guardian online.
Independent bookshop or Amazon?
Both. My favourite bookshop is Primrose Hill, which has always been fantastically supportive, but I get quite a lot from Amazon and the Book Depository, and also from second-hand bookshops in small West Country towns.
Hacker or adder?
Both. That stage is fun - you've got something to shape and play with. It's the raw material that feels like ripping your guts out.
Plotter or panter?
Both, at different stages. I always know the general shape of a story, but I'm often as much in the dark about how my characters get there as anyone else. Eventually, I make a list of old-fashioned chapter headings with what happens in each very briefly - I find the Edwardian method, which I learnt from PG Wodehouse's notes, very helpful. I also listen to a lot of classical music, particularly by Bach. I like music that is rigorous and shapely.
You really must read…
As much as you can that's good. There are no other rules. Read for pleasure and enlightenment, and if a book is still boring you after 80 pages, give up.
I wish I had written….
At the moment, Elizabeth Jenkins's The Tortoise and the Hare, recently re-published by Virago. It's a stunningly good novel about a woman powerless before her husband's affair with a neighbour, written in searing prose; and it actually has an unexpectedly uplifting ending.
I get most excited by…Living.
If I wasn’t a writer I would be…
A doctor. I wanted to be a doctor originally but wasn't good enough at maths. But I love the stories about people that doctors pass on to me.
An author should never…
See other authors as rivals. We are all in the gutter looking up at the stars.
Nice questions! Thanks for asking...
Amanda is the author of six novels. Her latest is Hearts and Minds
She is also the book critic for The Times. Amanda blogs here