Archive for May 29th, 2013

The books that have most influenced me

I am often asked which books and writers have influenced me most.

OK, not often. Sometimes. Perhaps not even sometimes.

But if I were ever to be asked this question, the answer would be, without doubt, the Russian authors I read so avidly in my teenage years, and who remain still so central to my literary tastes and perceptions. Pushkin, Gogol, Turgenev, Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov … I gobbled them all up.

So now, I drink a lot of vodka, and talk incessantly about God and the immortality of the soul. And if that ain’t influence, I don’t know what is.

The thirteenth rule

Novelist Deborah Moggach has set out twelve rules for writing novels. All very wise and sensible, no doubt, but perhaps a thirteenth rule may be added:

13. If you really need someone to set out rules to help you write your novel, then you really shouldn’t bother trying to write one in the first place.

After all, it’s not as if the world is crying out for yet more new novels. Even as it is, there are so many of the damn things that we don’t have the time or the patience to sort out the worthwhile from the crap!