How did you know you wanted to be an author? I don’t know, I just was,and am. it helped that I had to write frequently and fast at university, and without wasting too many words, and then as an academic was just expected to write dissertations and books – so I did, without question8ng it and, hard st first, gradually found it easier and easier -never without a lot of research however. Then five years ago after a minor brain injury ( left hemisphere) I suddenly found myself having dreams which I came to see just were ready-made books (novels and novellas). This continues. For both kinds, fiction and nonfiction, there are things, I found, I was psssionate to communicate to others.
So it just – happened. There is after all something magical and inexplicable about all creating, whether mine or others’.
What is your advice for aspiring authors? Always always always read ALOUD, if only to your inner ear, both others’ and especially, your own writing. That is after all how literature began, that is its essence. That way you will avoid the sins of overlong words, sentences paragraphs, convoluted language, pompous stiff impersonal prose.
And do not let the grammar books or the dictionaries make you afraid, when your feeling or your ear so lead you, to innovate. Be responsive above all to the rhythms and resonances of our beautiful language and let them be your guide; blessed we are to be their servant.
Do you have any writing rituals or practices?Not really. I used to make myself write, say, 2000 words a day – good or not good, just getting on with it, but always (for academic works) preceded by research whether from fieldwork, primary sources or comparative reading: all essential phases in most of my work. But nowadays, though the research continues, I love it (currently into taxi-drivers’ lives, fascinating and so under-researched) it just ‘comes’, the creative works through ‘dreams’ (more precisely that liminal space that is neither sleeping nor waking yet at the same time both), then I just write it down the next day, as if from someone else’s dictation (maybe it is, the creation of some unknown thinker a millennium back?), – extraordinary yet feeling somehow completely ‘normal’.
What message to you want readers to remember?To be aware of the enchantment in things, not least in the beauty of words
To know that God, or, if you prefer this wording, the meaning of things, can be known though many names and in many ways
And that it is through struggle and, at times sacrifice, and through the commitment of hard-tested friendship, that we grow to find our heart’s desire.
How can fans get in contact with you? Email me, I would be delighted, specially if you have read any of my boolooks, fiction or nonfiction, and have comments or criticisms
I specially like to hear from enthusiastic but perhaps struggling students and young people (I was one once)