Which 3 writers, living or dead, would you invite to dinner?
Think I would go for..ooh, Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett and Jasper Fforde. I know I should think of highbrow and erudite people, but these three make me laugh, and, if I’m cooking, laughter might be essential. As might sick bags.
What's your favourite writing snack?
Giant chocolate buttons. Which is why my keyboard is all sticky and my key doesn’t work. I can’t tell you which one it is, because it doesn’t work. Suffice it to say, it’s next to the ‘x’.
Longhand or computer?
Computer. I’m too impatient for biros. And my handwriting is truly terrible. The notes on ‘Variant Sock or Minto’, my latest novel, testify to that.
Win Booker prize or land Hollywood film deal?
Film! If I can have a hand in the casting... I have a couch all ready, it’s tastefully covered in wipe-clean formica.
Tabloid or broadsheet?
Tabloid or broadsheet?
I don’t read newspapers. That’s what my laptop is for. That, and gumming up the key next to the ‘x’.
Independent bookshop or Amazon?
Both. Amazon when I want a new book Right Here, Right Now, but indie bookshops whenever I go to a new town. Especially bookshops with a little cafe – there’s something about tea and buns that positively lend themselves to new books.
Hacker or adder? (in terms of editing)
Adder. First drafts always come in short, and I LOVE the going back and padding out without the tedious necessity of trying to remember where the story is going. I’m rubbish at taking bits out – if I didn’t think they were essential I wouldn’t have put them in, would I?
Plotter or panter? [ie do you plan out all your work first or write by the seat of your pants!]
An absolute pantser. I have a start scene, a couple of points to hit and a vague end to aim at, and that’s all, when I start a new book. The characters do their own thing, and somehow a story happens. Nothing to do with me.
Leave on a cliffhanger or tell all?
I think it depends. I don’t believe it laying it all out for the reader, but then I don’t like leaving them dangling too much either. So, not a cliffhanger, but maybe, standing on the edge of a small step?
You really must read…
Yes. You really must. Oh, you mean a book? That’s difficult. But one book has stuck in my mind for forty years, and it’s called ‘The Amazing Mr Whisper’ by Brenda G Macrow. Slightly spooky tale about two young children and their tutor, and I loved it to death when I was young. All my heroes are based on that fey young man... And if anyone finds a copy, please tell me where, I’d love to read it again.
I get most excited by…
How long have you got? Physics (the search for the Higgs Bosun is fascinating), marshmallows, new ideas and the time to write them down, travel.... and I get ridiculously excited about Christmas. Yes, still. Yes, even at my age. Yes, even when it’s me that does all the shopping and cooking.
If I wasn’t a writer I would be…
I’d like to think that I’d be an International Dressage rider but, given my somewhat lackadaisical attention to detail, I’d be terrible at learning the tests, so ... I dunno. Writing is all I can do. Librarian, maybe? Serial killer? A serial killer whose adherence to the Dewey Decimal System was legendary.
An author should...... never take offence. Reviewers – yes, even the ones who misunderstood your entire plot and misread the page where you explained everyone’s intentions – are entitled to their opinion, however misguided it might be. It’s not personal, it’s not you they don’t like, just your work. And only that one book. They might absolutely adore your next one, so don’t waste time and energy on imagining how you are going to kill them slowly, whilst reciting passages from the hated book, just smile and shrug and get on with the next one.
Jane Lovering is a writer, baker of inedible cakes, mother of an indeterminate number of children (they keep moving, it's hard to count), dog owner, cat slave. Occupier of a crumbly old place in the crumbly old countryside in Yorkshire. She recently won the Romantic Novelist's Association prestigious Romantic Novel of the Year for her book Please Don't Stop the Music.