Thursday 18 April 2019

Write side... with bestseller Patricia Scanlan

Patricia Scanlan
Patricia Scanlan
Kim Bielenberg

Kim Bielenberg

Patricia Scanlan on cleaning her microwave, writing in bed and her love for 'Gone with the Wind'

Your new novel Orange Blossom Days is yet another bestseller. What's your number-one tip for writers?

Don't procrastinate. You just have to get on with your novel. A friend used to say that I had the cleanest microwave in Dublin. I used to clean it to avoid writing. But only you can write your novel.

You have 20 bestsellers under your belt. Don't tell me you ever have difficulty writing.

At the start of a book I really don't like it. I feel like I am at a wedding that I don't want to be at with strangers I don't want to get to know.

So, how do you get a book finished at all, at all?

At the start I might only write one or two pages a day. I have to push it. But then you reach a moment when it starts to push you. As I get further into the book, the desire to write increases. Then I am rolling down the hill, and all I want to do is write to see what is going to happen.

Do you know how a book will end when you start it?

I might plan an ending, but events overtake me. It's like real life. You never know what is going to happen next. I enjoy not knowing.

When you started writing, you were a librarian. How did you fit it in?

I could not afford to give up the day job. My advance for my first novel was £150. Often, I wouldn't begin writing until 9.30pm. I would wrap myself up in a dressing gown, and I could be going until 3am.

If you weren't a writer, what would you be?

I would have loved to have painted set designs for the theatre.

Which book would you take to a desert island?

One of them would be Gone with the Wind. The characters are great and are still remembered to this day.

Tomorrow is another day - and another bestseller...

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