Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Questions, Questions! - Katherine Langrish




Q: Where do you get your ideas from?

Author [thinks]: How the hell do I know? Do you really want to stand here for hours while I analyse my creative processes?
[Aloud, trying to preserve pleasant smile] What an interesting question! I suppose from all sorts of places… anecdotes and stories, my own past… A lot of it’s to do with asking myself what would happen if…
[But Q’s eyes are glazing over]
Author, hastily: The Muse! It’s the Muse. Flashes of inspiration from the ether!
Q [jokily]: And are you going to be the next JK Rowling, ha ha?
Author [thinks]: You bastard!
[Aloud, with light laugh and wave of hand]: Oh, I think she’s a one-off, a phenomenon, it’s not exactly likely…
[…but Q’s eyes are again glazing over, s/he not in fact being interested.]
Q [accusingly]: So when are we going to see you win one of these prizes?
Author [thinks]: Arrrgh*?!@*!#! Never, that’s when. But oh God, s/he’s right, I should have won something by now, been on a shortlist at least; I’m a failure, I’m an overlooked failure!
[Aloud, forcing smile to cover bleeding heart] Oh well, there’s a lot of competition you know, there are so many brilliant books out there!
[Q: nods gravely, concealing amused disbelief]
Q [even more accusingly]: I looked everywhere in WH Smiths/Waterstones/Borders and I couldn’t see your book anywhere. Why don’t your publishers make sure they stock it?
Author [thinks]: Yes, why the hell don’t they? Because they don’t care, that’s why. I’m not important enough.
[Aloud, carelessly]: I expect they’d sold out.
Q: Do you think you’ll write a proper book one day?
Author [livid, thinks]: You mean ‘an adult novel’, don’t you, you little sh*!*t! I don’t even want to bother talking to you!
[Aloud, in a cool voice:] You think a children’s book doesn’t take as much talent, craft, and effort as any other work of fiction?

Q [taken aback, but not actually convinced] Oh – no, of course I don't!

Q: Should I have heard of you?
Author [thinks, satirically]: How I’d love to say ‘Yes!’
[Aloud, politely]: Well – not unless you have children who read a lot.
Q: Why don’t you turn your book into a film?
Author [thinks, wearily]: Why don’t you give me a magic wand?
[Aloud; mysteriously]: It’s been sent to a few agents, of course – we’ll just have to wait and see.

5 comments:

Dianne Hofmeyr said...

Brilliant post, Kath!

Nick Green said...

Actually the question about the awards is a genuine puzzler. I'm stumped. My best theory is that your 'lubbers' are actually in charge of choosing the shortlists. (For the uninitiated, a lubber wouldn't know a good book if it choked on one.)

Vivien Boyes said...

Ouch! So, so familiar.

As for "Where do you get your ideas from?" I'm sure there must be a category for them on ebay... used or new, I wonder? And will they be delivered or are they for local pick up only?

bookchildworld said...

LOL! So horribly true - it amazes me that people actually do ask these questions...

LynnHC said...

This made me laugh so hard the cat got cross with me :)