Praise for ‘Eats, Shoots and Leaves’:
‘If Lynne Truss were Roman Catholic I'd nominate her for sainthood' Frank McCourt
'This book will stimulate and satisfy. It's worth its weight in gold.' Independent
'Lynne Truss deserves to be piled high with honours' Sunday Times
'She's very funny…like a travel writer, she negotiated a foreign country and brought to bear the outsiders clear view' Independent, Chris Maume
--This text refers to the
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself
I’m five foot nine. I’ve weighed the same for about five years, but every day I read the scales and say the same thing: “Oh, surely not.” I spend all my time writing and emailing. If I can’t get an internet connection, I panic. I text all day, or at least until all my texting friends drop from fatigue. I am in love with communication. The most tragic moment in literature for me is when that confessional note goes under that carpet in Tess of the D’Urbervilles. 2. What books have had a lasting impact on you?
Well, Tess of the D’Urbervilles, obviously. Looking back, I think I was unusual in how much comic writing I read when I was young. Books like 1066 and All That and How to be Topp. I loved the American writer Betty MacDonald. I read Keith Waterhouse. But when you look at my own work, I think you can quite clearly detect the influence of D.H. Lawrence, Marcel Proust, Samuel Beckett, Mrs Oliphant, H. Ryder Haggard and of course that woman who wrote Milly Molly Mandy. 3. Why do you write?
It’s an inexplicable urge. It was a suppressed urge for a very long time, too: I was in my mid-thirties before I started writing fiction or drama, which I think explains the terribly urgent urgency of this urge. My ex-boyfriend still describes me as the only person he knows who goes on holiday just so that she can slave over a keyboard somewhere else. 4. As an author, what are you most proud of writing?
My novel Tennyson’s Gift
. Written mostly on holiday, as it happens. 5. What is your biggest failure?
My novel Tennyson’s Gift
. It was a critical success, but it didn’t sell.6. When you were a child, what did you think you would be when you grew up?
I think I always wanted to write, but for a long time it was obvious to me that I would happily settle for being a library assistant. The main thing about me is that I come from a working-class background; I was considerably exceeding expectations just by sitting A levels. 7. If you could go anywhere in time for one day, where would you go and why?
Interestingly, I used to have a ready answer to this question. I used to be sure that I would go straight back to the late 1860s and witness Charles Dickens giving one of his dramatic readings of “Sikes and Nancy”, possibly in America. But I went off this idea a bit when it was incorporated into one of the very first plots in the revamped Doctor Who
. It was a big shock, realising that someone else had the same idea (except for wanting to see Dickens in Cardiff). So I think what I’d really have to choose now would be to see my parents when they were young. Annoyingly, they did that story on Doctor Who
as well, though. Heavens, I’m so obvious.
8. Do you like reading on e-books?
I haven’t done it. I bought a Sony Reader for my niece at Christmas and she loves it. (I’m trying to sound helpful.) 9. What are you working on at the moment?
I’ve just finished work on the third series of my radio comedy Inspector Steine, to be aired in September/October 2009 on Radio 4. It’s about the police in Brighton in the 1950s, with a terrific regular cast, and I’d like to write it for ever.