Do you answer all your emails?
I try to. It's just I'm a bit disorganised
and get quite a few nowadays, so don't take
it personally if I don't get back. Unless
you've sent me something nasty, or you're
one of those angry Labrador owners who tell
me off about The Last Family In England, in
which case I'll be ignoring you.
2. How do I get a publishing deal?
You write something only you could write,
something you feel has to be written. You
put everything you have into it. You put it
before all else. You send the first three
chapters and a snazzy one or two page synopsis
(try and make it read like a back cover) to
a relevant, reputable agency. Sound confident
but not arrogant in your cover letter, and
only give them the info that will help them
sell the book. If they want to see more, have
it ready. Then you pray.
Why are your earlier novels influenced by
Shakespeare's plots? Surely the best thing
about Shakespeare is the language, not the
If I had to quantify it, I'd say Shakespeare's
influence - in terms of plot and theme - only
accounts for three per cent of the content
of my novels. The other ninety-seven per cent
comes solely from the Return of the Jedi.
You like bleak endings, don't you?
No. I like honest endings.
Is it nice, being paid to write novels?
Yes. It's lovely.
6 . Did you always want to be a novelist?
No. When I was 8 I wanted to be a pop star
and made a cassette of songs with my sister,
using her synthesiser, and I sent it to Duran
Duran's record label. I then phoned the receptionist
to ask if it got there, and she very sweetly
burst my dream. After that, my ambitions got
smaller and smaller, until I had a breakdown/breakthrough
in my twenties and became a teetotal neurotic
with a handy back-catalogue of embarrassment,
disappointment and pain to draw on.
7 . Do you have time to read this extract
of my unpublished novel?
Maybe. Maybe not. It's nothing personal, but
if I'm in full writing mode, I might not have
time. And even if I do have time, and I do
like it, you'd really be better off sending
it to an agent. Or Stephen King. Or Stephanie
8 . Do you own a dog?
9 . Did you ever own a dog?
Yes. A Springer Spaniel called Murdoch. He
was there when I needed him during that difficult
summer of 1987.
10. Did you ever own tropical fish?
Yes. A full tank of guppies, black mollies,
angelfish and those really ugly ones who suck
the inside wall of the tank.
11. Were you always into vampires?
No. Except for The Lost Boys era when I tried
to look like Kiefer Sutherland but thought
I'd bleach my hair by putting a lot of Sun-In
on my hair which actually made it yellow and
not very vampiric. Liked Nosferatu too but
that's because Werner Herzog is a genius.
Plus, I was a big Cure fan but they were a
bit too shoegazey to be vampires I think.