The lovely Pippa Goldschmidt (http://www.pippagoldschmidt.co.uk) invited me to take part in the Next Big Thing where writers answer some questions about their latest work and then pass the baton on to other writers. It was interesting to think of concise anwers to the questions and I’m delighted that Pippa invited me to get involved.
Here we go:
• What is the title of your book?
My debut novel is called Anywhere’s Better Than Here.
• Where did the idea come from for the book?
I started a short story about a woman called Laureline who had a black eye. The story seemed to be a part of something much bigger and I decided to write a novel with Laureline (who became Laurie) as the central character. She doesn’t have a black eye in the novel.
• What genre does your book fall under?
Hmmm… It’s easier to say what it isn’t: Chick lit, fantasy, sci-fi, romance! But, if forced I’d say literary fiction? Or high end commercial fiction? I hate labelling it. It’s a story about a woman and it’s blackly funny but also sad.
• What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
She’s in her mid twenties so I’d probably choose a slightly younger Samantha Morton or Kelly MacDonald.
• What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
Laurie lives with her computer game-obsessed boyfriend who she can barely be bothered to speak to and she works in a meaningless job in an office where she avoids her co-workers. When Laurie meets an older, secretive man things take an unexpected turn and Laurie realises she needs a plan, and fast. (Sorry, that’s two sentences.)
• Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Published by Sandstone Press and I’m represented by the Jenny Brown Agency
• How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
About two years.
• What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
The Edible Woman by Margaret Atwood.
• Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I think I was inspired by music a great deal. Certainly where the atmosphere and, at times, sense of humour is concerned. I listened to things like Grizzly Bear and Bon Iver for atmosphere and The Smiths influenced the black humour. Other than that, I’m always inspired by great writing like Cormac McCarthy, Margaret Atwood, Denis Johnson, Barbara Gowdy, Lorrie Moore and loads of other people I am in awe of.
• What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
There are scenes about shoplifting, how to escape dinosaurs, transsexual piano teachers and some smooching.
Anywhere’s Better Than Here is published by Sandstone Press and is available from all good book shops.
The next five writers who I approached/picked on are:
Russel D McLean is a writer, reviewer and general miscreant. He is the author of the Scottish noir novels, The Good Son, The Lost Sister and Father Confessor.
Lesley McDowell is an author and critic living in Scotland. She reviews regularly for the Herald, the Scotsman and the Independent on Sunday. Her current book is Between the Sheets:The Literary Liaisons of Nine 20th Century Women Writers.
Matt Hill is a copywriter, proofreader and story maker-upper. His novel, The Folded Man, was shortlisted and final-isted for the Dundee International Book Prize 2012. It’ll be published by Sandstone Press in May 2013.
Anna Stewart writes plays and short stories. Her work has been published in various journals and she is currently working on a collection called Pleasureland.
J Robert Lennon is an American writer, teacher, critic, musician and blogger. He recently published his sixth novel, Familar.