Questions people frequently ask me:
Q. A badger can give you a nasty nip. How do you protect yourself?
A. A Swedish woman once told me that to protect against the wily badger, you should put dry bread in your wellies. The badger will bite down on your foot, hear a ‘crack’ from the bread, then let go as it thinks it has got to the bone. Stupid badgers.
Q. Twelve books in a year. Isn’t that an awful lot of work? Won’t you go mental?
A. Yes, it is. And probably. But as arbitrary ways to hone one’s mad skillz go, enforced scribbling for a couple of hours a day every day seems as good as any.
Q. What’s that unusual smell?
A. Melancholy, infused with garam masala.
Q. Aren’t you worried that putting the emphasis on quantity of words will affect the quality of writing?
A. Not really. I am taking the NaNoWriMo approach that it’s better to have a first draft, however bad, because at least then I have something to go back and edit. Once the basic shape of the book is there I can go back and rewrite the crappy bits. Editing as you go leaves you open to getting bored and never finishing, because you’ve spent too much time with your words in a confined space. Bashing something out and going back to it a few months later, you tend to realise it’s a lot better than you ever thought, which inspires you to get on with further drafts.
Q. You’re asking for other people’s ideas instead of coming up with your own. Isn’t that cheating?
A. Only in a loose sense. Whilst I am asking for people to take five or ten minutes to suggest character names and a couple of plot strands, I am the one spending hours of my day planning and writing – researching genres, fleshing out characters and concepts, etc. In the event that any of these books get picked up by a publisher, everyone who has contributed will be acknowledged and a portion of the proceeds will go to a charity nominated by those who got involved with the project.
Q. What is your favourite colour?