Linwood Barclay, bestselling author of thrillers such as No Time for Goodbye, A Tap on the Window and No Safe House has recently turned his hand to writing a gripping trilogy set in troubled town of Promise Falls. Here at One Book Lane we’ve been big fans of his for many years, so we jumped at the chance to ask him a few questions and find out what a man who writes these chilling stories is really like…
Who is your favourite author?
Ross Macdonald, author of the Lew Archer detective novels. I discovered his work in my teens and it had a profound effect on me.
What book do you most often recommend to friends?
American Pastoral, by Philip Roth. What can I say. Just read it.
Do you have any writing rituals?
When I finish writing a book – first draft, second draft, whatever – I tidy my desk. It must be clutter free.
If you weren’t a writer what job would you liked to have gone into?
Jazz pianist might have been nice, although the absence of any musical talent whatsoever is a bit of a problem. For years, before my newspaper column and book writing, I was an editor. So I have that to fall back on.
What is the best thing about being a writer?
It’s nice not having to commute. But even better than working at home is being able to make a living at what you love. That’s a privilege I try not to take for granted.
What one item could you not live without?
My toys. Okay, that’s a collective. But everything from model trains and, in my office, Batmobiles and spaceships from the Gerry Anderson shows I watched as a kid, keep me sane. Or insane, whichever is more desirable at any given time.
Tell us something that will shock your readers.
Burying fish guts was once part of my daily routine. In my teens and into my early twenties I ran our family’s cottage resort and caravan park. Every day, the leftovers from the fishermen’s catch had to be dealt with. It’s kind of made any job since seem not so bad.
What makes you happy?
A comfy deck chair, a view of the bay, a drink and a good book.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Where writing is concerned, an editor advised me to slow down. A novel wasn’t like a newspaper column. Every paragraph didn’t have to have a punch line. Let things unfold at a different pace.
The members of my dream book club would be . . .
This changes every time I’m asked. Today, it’s Ricky Gervais, Barack Obama, Judi Dench and Helen Mirren.