WELCOME IAN SAMSON
Ian Sansom is the author of the popular Mobile Library Mystery Series. He is also a frequent contributor and critic for The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, The London Review of Books, and The Spectator. He is a regular broadcaster on BBC Radio 3 and Radio 4.
Connect with Mr. Sansom at these sites:
Q&A with Ian Samson
Writing and Reading:
Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events?
All experience is personal experience. And all events are current. So yes, both. Everything. Absolutely everything. I draw upon everything. The world, the book and the devil. Nose to tail, and even the squeak.
Do you start with the conclusion and plot in reverse or start from the beginning and see where the story line brings you?
Neither. Sometimes I start with a phrase. An image. A smell. A colour. I rarely start with anything resembling a plot or a story – and arguably I rarely end up with anything resembling a plot or a story. My new novel began with the image of a man sitting with his feet resting on a copy of Debrett’sPeerage. I suppose really I start with language, or with images, or with rhythms. Sometimes I think I would rather be a poet. But poetry’s a mug’s game.
Your routine when writing? Any idiosyncrasies?
‘Heaven gives us habits to take the place of happiness.’ Isn’t that Goethe? I think it’s Goethe. Someone like Goethe. Anyway. Yes. I am always inventing routines and habits. And then breaking them. Or they lapse. And so I have to invent another routine or habit. Perhaps this in itself is an idiosyncrasy – or perhaps it’s just life, I don’t know. Did Sisyphus have a routine?
Is writing your full time job? If not, may I ask what you do by day?
Writing is my full-time job in the sense that it occupies my mind full-time, and sometimes more than full-time – overtime, extra time, big time. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do, and it’s really all I can do with any degree of skill. Je suis un homme-plume. By day, however, I am engaged in full-time paid employment. It’s OK. I don’t mind full-time employment. I love to eat. And you know what they say – if a man shall not work, how shall he eat?
Who are some of your favorite authors?
I mostly like dead authors. They’re more fun to play with. You can say stuff to dead authors that you wouldn’t dream of saying to living authors. Flaubert, say. You can really get into a good conversation with Flaubert. Or Dickens. Chekhov. You can throw anything at them and they’ll come right back at you with something interesting.
What are you reading now?
I try to read a book a day. Sometimes two. So, today: Love’s Executioner, by Irvin B. Yalom. And The Stranger’s Child, by Alan Hollinghurst – but I can tell that’s going to spill over into tomorrow. The Stranger’s Child is a 2-day event.
Are you working on your next novel? Can you tell us a little about it?
I’m just finishing my next novel – which will be the second in the County Guides series, in which our hero Swanton Morley travels to Devon to write another guide book on the English counties. This time he’s confronted with a mysterious death at a boys’ school. There are cream teas. And surfing Satanists.
Your novel will be a movie. Who would you cast?
Swanton Morley: Joseph Cotten. Stephen Sefton: Montgomery Clift. Miriam Morley: Sonia Henie. They’re all dead, alas, so it’s unlikely the film will get made. Do they have MGM in heaven?
Manuscript/Notes: hand written or keyboard?
I like to write with a Staedtler Pigment Liner 0.05 in a Moleskine squared pocket notebook. The squares keep me right.
Favorite leisure activity/hobby?
I enjoy the sound of good people talking.
Years ago I went to lunch with a friend in a Cambridge college. We sat at High Table and ate boiled egg and mashed anchovy sandwiches, with a nice glass of claret. I was sat next to a bishop on one side and a mathematician on the other. That was a good meal.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Love Miss Marple? Adore Holmes and Watson? Professor Morley’s guide to Norfolk is a story of bygone England: quaint villages, eccentric locals—and murder …
It is 1937, and disillusioned Spanish Civil War veteran Stephen Sefton is broke. So when he sees a mysterious advertisement for a job where “intelligence is essential,” he eagerly applies.
Thus begins Sefton’s association with Professor Swanton Morley, an omnivorous intellect. Morley’s latest project is a history of traditional England, with a guide to every county.
They start in Norfolk, but when the vicar of Blakeney is found hanging from his church’s bell rope, Morley and Sefton find themselves drawn into a rather more fiendish plot. Did the reverend really take his own life, or is there something darker afoot?
A must-read for fans of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, and Charles Todd, this novel includes plenty of murder, mystery, and mayhem to confound.
READ AN EXCERPT
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: 11/12/2013
Number of Pages: 212
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