In The Library

‘Writing rituals? Making sure my children and husband are not around’
A Quick Q&A with Melanie Finn

Melanie Finn is the author of Shame, a tale of a women who runs away from her past and alights on the edge of Africa. Here she encounters a world of mercenaries and philanthropists, delusional heroes and witchdoctors in polyester suits.
Melanie was kind enough to drop by and answer a few of our burning questions. She will also be back here at 12:30pm tomorrow to answer your questions in a video Q&A.
Melanie’s devastatingly powerful new novel Shame is out in paperback, eBook and audio on 12th March. Read an extract here.

Who is your favourite author?

Ooooo, so hard to choose.  Bruce Chatwin, Graham Greene, Joan Didion, the playwright Arthur Miller.

What book do you most often recommend to friends?

The Power and the Glory by Mr. Greene, and The Stranger by Camus – not a spare word in either.

Do you have any writing rituals?

Making sure my children and husband are not around and will not be for several hours.  I read a study once that said it takes three to 15minutes to refocus after a 30 second interruption.

If you weren’t a writer what job would you liked to have gone into?

Medic or nurse, in particular working in remote areas.

What is the best thing about being a writer?

The peculiar, spooky and very rare moments of inspiration: the synthesis of life experience and quite inexplicable magic.

 What one item could you not live without?

A window.  I’ve located every desk I’ve ever written at (and there have been many…) by a window so that I write in a state of agitation.  I’m so desperate to get outside that I don’t muck around.

 Tell us something that will shock your readers?

I slept with a famous actor many, many moons ago.  It was great, but then I had to listen to his poetry.

 What makes you happy?

Watching my children sleep safe and warm in their beds.  But this also makes me ache for all the mothers who are unable to do so.

 What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

You’ll never starve.

The members of my dream book club would be . . .

Bruce Chatwin, all by himself, walking in the Tibesti Mountains.  He died in 1989 but I never got over my literary crush.

Want to find out more about Shame and Melanie? Watch our Google Hangout when editor Sophie Buchan asked Melanie more about her novel.


Shame is out in paperback,eBook and audio on 12th March. Read an extract here.

Shame is out now in paperback,eBook and audio. Read an extract here.