4 April 2011 1 Comment

The Heart to the Rest of the World: the Writing Life with Tony Parsons

When you ask writers what underpins the greatest books, they may talk about structure, style, character-building. The best of them identify the novelist’s emotional understanding of himself and his ability to translate it to the page. That’s what strikes readers – perhaps without their even knowing it – and gives them an immediate connection to […]

2 April 2011 20 Comments

Married to Mohammad:Marguerite van Geldermalsen’s Writing Life interview

In the southern desert of Jordan, the ancient Nabateans carved their city, Petra, out of the red-rose rock. Later the caves were home to tribes of Bedouin. And to a young backpacker from New Zealand who fell in love with a Bedouin man. Marguerite van Geldermalsen met Mohammad in the late-Seventies and for the initial […]

15 October 2010 4 Comments

Crime fiction’s ‘French porn’: Martin Walker’s Writing Life interview

Martin Walker’s series of crime novels about the chief of police of a small town in the beautiful Perigord region of France is a delight. When we met at a recent “British Crime Fiction Night” in Darmstadt, Germany, he described the books as “French porn – wine, food, women – in a crime fiction frame.” […]

15 July 2010 1 Comment

The Barbara Cartland of Cairo…Sort of: Sanna Negus’s Writing Life interview

Cairo is a place we all know to some degree, even if only the image of the pyramids and the Sphinx. A short visit there is enough to make you wonder about how much of this teeming metropolis you really don’t know. No writer gets so deep as Sanna Negus under the skin of this […]

6 March 2010 4 Comments

The elusive, graceful future of journalism: Nina Burleigh’s Writing Life

An NPR foreign correspondent pal of mine used to have a list of seven ways for journalists to grow old gracefully. His premise, which is self-evident to anyone who’s been a reporter, was that daily news was an undignified thing to be doing in your 40s. I can’t remember the whole of the list. It […]

28 October 2009 0 Comments

No more Mister Nice Guy

This is where it gets ugly. Last week I zapped off the manuscript of my new novel to my agent in New York. My wife told me to get working on the next book. It’s not because she’s worried about me slacking off and failing to pay the rent. No, it’s because she knows what […]

28 October 2009 0 Comments

The Real Iraq War: Michael Anthony’s Writing Life

By now it’s no secret that the Iraq War has been a disillusioning experience for many of the U.S. servicemen sent there. The literature on the war has, so far, been mostly written by journalists. There’s plenty of it, and like most journalism it runs pretty mainstream and inoffensive, no matter how bloody the scenes […]

15 October 2009 0 Comments

Location, location

Writers live in their heads. What may be travel to you is location-scouting for me. In some ways, I’m never where I am. I’m imagining that place on the page in a future book. It won’t exist until I’ve written about it. I was standing on a deserted bridge across the Rhine in the Swiss […]

6 October 2009 0 Comments

Moore’s new Thailand noir

Christopher G. Moore has book 10 in his terrific Vincent Calvino crime series out this week. “Paying Back Jack”, which will be out in December in the UK. I love the Calvino series for the way it leads the reader into the underbelly of Bangkok in the company of its Italian-Jewish New Yorker private eye. […]

29 September 2009 0 Comments

I Have Publishing Surrounded: John Higgs’s Writing Life

Thomas Carlyle wrote that “A well-written life is almost as rare as a well-spent one.” There may be some debate as to whether Timothy Leary’s life was well-spent. However, his biography by John Higgs is one of the most well-written and compelling books you’ll ever come across. “I Have America Surrounded: The Life of Timothy […]