Monday 19 May 2008

An Interview - Ian Sansom

Ian Sansom is the author of the Mobile Library series of mystery novels. He is also the man behind The Enthusiast Field Guide to Poetry and The Enthusiast Almanack. His other books include Ring Road and The Truth About Babies.

Q1. What are you writing at the minute?

I am replying to your questionnaire!

But this evening I shall be attempting to finish no. 4 in my Mobile Library series of books. It’s quite good.

Q2. Can you give us an idea of Ian Sansom’s typical up-to-the-armpits-in-ideas-and-time writing day?

Ah, the lure of the typical. The average. There is no such thing. Except in mathematics. Every day is different.

Like most writers I have to supplement my income with various sub-writerly and non-writerly activities, so the actual writing of actual books tends to take place very early in the mornings or very late at night.

Q3. What do you do when you’re not writing?

Work; read; sleep; worry.

Q4. Any advice for a greenhorn trying to break into the crime fiction scene?

My advice to anyone trying to write anything: read.

And, of course, don’t give up.

And do your best.

And I would recommend that everyone read Primo Levi’s If This Is a Man.

Q5. Which crime writer(s) have impressed you this year?

Fifty years after everyone else I have finally caught up with Ross MacDonald. He’s rather good. And I like what Brian McGilloway is doing in his new series.

Q6. What are you reading right now?

I am reading: W.H. Auden, The Complete Works, Volume III, Prose 1949-1955; Gordon Burn, Born Yesterday; Brock Clarke, An Arsonist’s Guide to Writer’s Homes in New England; Martha Nussbaum, The Fragility of Goodness: Luck and Ethics in Greek Tragedy and Philosophy; Martha Nussbaum, Love’s Knowledge: Essays on Philosophy and Literature; Kurt Vonnegut, Cat’s Cradle; and Kurt Vonnegut, Armageddon In Retrospect.

Q7. Plans for the future?

I am planning to keep on trying. And doing my best. And reading.

Q8. With regards to your writing career to date, would you do anything differently?

Yes. I would be born Philip Roth.

Q9. Anything you want to say that I haven’t asked you about?

Yes. I would like to ask, what makes a human life a good one or confers value upon it?

And I would ask others, and myself, really, why do you want to write?

I believe the answer to this question would help solve a lot of problems.

Thank you, Ian Sansom!

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