FAQsAll those questions that come up from time to time

When did you start writing?
I wrote as a teenager, but really started trying to get published when I was in my mid twenties. My first piece of published writing was in a fanzine, when I was about 16. It was a short horror story... Some things are just meant to be. In my late twenties I started to think about writing again properly and a couple of years later I got an agent. My first book, Floodland, was published in 2000.

Why do you write, what would you do if you didn’t?
I write because I love it (most of the time). You can’t be a writer if you don’t - it’s too hard otherwise. If I wasn’t a writer I would love to have been a professional musician, of almost any kind...

Do you have any tips for writing?
I think it’s really important that you finish what you start - don’t worry about how good your stories are to start with, or how long they are, just practice finishing! Read out loud what you’ve done. And ALWAYS try to enjoy it.

Do you have a special place for writing?
I’m very lucky to have a lovely shed in the garden where I work most of the time. I like to have music playing while I work - I can’t work in silence... but it has to be music appropriate to what I am trying to write.

What do you do in your spare time?
I do lots of things, like draw, make music (I play the drums), travel a lot, and am also a practitioner of field archery, which basically means firing longbows in the woods....

Where do you get your inspiration from?
From anywhere and everywhere, from my cerebellum, (or is it the frontal cortex?), from a funny little shop in the high street, from music, from life, from fear. Choose your favourite answer :-)

Who are your literary influences?
There are so many, but I could name the following to start with: Mervyn Peake, Ernest Hemingway, Alan Garner, Susan Cooper, Peter Dickinson, Edgar Allan Poe, P.G. Wodehouse, Ian Fleming, David Pinner...

My favourite music is by:
Sonic Youth
Muse
Richard Strauss
The Mars Volta
Franz Schubert
Lau
The Divine Comedy
Igor Stravinksy
Mount Moriah