As part of Short Story Day Africa, I’ve been asked, along with lots of other writers, to answer a few (!?!-21!) questions. I’ve tried my best.
Do you actually enjoy writing, or do you write because you like the finished product?
When writing is going well I enjoy it very much. When it’s not I eat chocolate cake.
What are you reading right now? And are you enjoying it? (No cheating and saying something that makes you sound like the intelligensia).
I just finished May We Be Forgiven last night which I liked quite a bit. I’m not sure what I’ll read next I have two to choose from We Need New Names and The Art of Fielding.
Have you ever killed off a character and regretted it?
In my detective books I always kill characters I like. I hope the readers will like them too so they care about the fact that they’ve died. No, I don’t normally regret that.
If you could have any of your characters over for dinner, which would it be and why?
I don’t know about that one. When I live with them so long in my head I’m a little bit glad to see them on their way. I like quite a few of my male leads in my romance novels, but I suspect Mr K would not be very kind to them if they came to dinner.
I tend to have a certain kind of girl in my stories for kids. One best described as plucky and brave without reason, but socially a disaster. I’d like all of them to come to my house.
Which one of your characters would you never invite into your home and why?
There are many of those but it’s difficult to mention them without revealing endings to books that people maybe haven’t read. Most are psychopaths of one sort or another.
Ernest Hemingway said: write drunk, edit sober. For or against?
I have written incredibly sincere (at the time) nonsense when I’ve been drunk. While sober it had to all be deleted, so I suspect it is not an efficient way to work.
If against, are you for any other mind altering drug?
I’m for all sorts of mind altering drugs (Children: don’t do drugs!) but their effect on my writing is very much like alcohol.
Our adult competition theme if Feast, Famine and Potluck. Have you ever put food in your fiction? If so, what part did it play in the story?
Yes I’ve had food in my fiction quite often, how could you not?
What’s the most annoying question anyone’s ever asked you in an interview?
I hate all of those what’s your inspiration and African writer questions. And who’s your audience. Actually, there are a lot of questions I don’t much like answering and I always answer differently because I don’t pay much attention to what I’m saying and expect the same from everyone else.
If you could be any author other than yourself, who would you be?
Kate Atkinson. I’m a long time groupie.
If you could go back in time and erase one thing you had written from your writing history, what would it be and why?
I don’t know, I’ve written a lot of crap, but you have to get through crap to get to good. I hope.
What’s the most blatant lie you’ve ever told?
I’m fine. I haven’t been fine since 16 January 1964.
If someone reviews you badly, do you write them into your next book/story and kill them?
No, but that’s an idea. It’s been noted.
What’s your favourite bad reviewer revenge fantasy?
That later I go on to win The Booker and then when I’m collecting the prize the person is in the audience and they raise their hand to ask a question and even though they’re bouncing up and down in their chair begging me to call on them, I pretend I can’t see their hand.
What’s the most frustrating thing about being a writer in Africa?
That if your books are published on the continent and not overseas, no one seems to take you as a contender.
Have you ever written naked?
Oh god no!
Does writing sex scenes make you blush?
No, I write romance in any case. But I do feel explicit sex scenes are not that sexy for me. They go too biological and biology is not sexy.
Who would play you in the film of your life?
If you won the Caine Prize for African Fiction, what would you do with the money?
I’d travel until the last thebe was finished.
What do you consider your best piece of work to date?
There are two short stories I like quite a bit, Moving Forward and In Grace-land. I also like the novel I’m working on right now. But if it is anything like the six novels that preceded it, I doubt it will ever be published. I’m hopeful though.
What are you doing on 21 June 2013, to celebrate Short Story Day Africa?
Sadly, this year I am not involved in any Short Story Day activities because I’ve been sick for two months and still am. Maybe I’ll celebrate quietly in bed writing a new short story.