Abigail Tarttelin is the author of Flick and most recently Golden Boy, a novel about a young boy coming to terms with being intersex. She also writes for the Huffington Post and is Books Editor for Phoenix fashion magazine. Here, we get to know a bit more about her, including the books she recommends the most .
Who is your favourite author?
I think it would be so sad if I had just one! I can’t even imagine that… I love Kishwar Desai a lot at the moment, let’s just go with that!
What book do you most often recommend to friends?
I’ve recommended Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas a lot, just because it shows how boundary and rule-less fiction can be. Also On Chesil Beach, by Ian McEwan The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud and Unless by Carol Shields.
Do you have any writing rituals?
Half of what I write doesn’t get published, but when it’s working I tend to be writing only when I feel inspired and energised to write, and when I don’t have wifi. I wrote Golden Boy in a wifi-less diner with bad food (good food being another distraction) in New York City.
If you weren’t a writer what job would you liked to have gone into?
I’d like to think I’d be an actress, maybe a director. Or there’s an outside chance I would have been on Top Gear, because it looks like a really fun job.
What is the best thing about being a writer?
Personally, it’s when readers get in touch to say your book meant a lot to them. With Golden Boy, LGBTQIA teens that write to me just kill me. They’re so brave already and the fact that a book like Golden Boy can embolden them to be who they are is beyond what I imagined my life might do.
What one item could you not live without?
I think I could live without all items. I would find certain people very difficult to live without, and I include teddy bears in that statement.
Tell us something that will shock your readers?
My readers are pretty hard to shock. What could I say? Occasionally I find that I, too, am influenced by the gendered, patriarchal, sexist society I grew up in, and I feel really dumb and awful about it. But they probably know that already.
What makes you happy?
Feminist rants and people that agree with me.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
My agent once told me to ‘stay indie’ and that’s always stuck with me. I think letting in too much outside influence and culture – especially subconsciously absorbing things that don’t speak to you, like advertising or films and books ‘everyone’ is reading/seeing – can be really damaging to your sense of who you are.
The members of my dream book club would be . . .
All the women I’ve ever met that I’m in awe of, including all my close friends, and then also Jennifer Lawrence, Tavi Gevinson of Rookie Mag, Mikki Halpin at US Glamour, authors Elizabeth Winder, Sahar Delijani and Victoria Lousalot, Julia from Rare Bird Lit, Lianne Stokes at Interview Mag… I could go on. And on. And on.