S.J. Watson is the author of the astonishing and award winning debut novel ‘Before I go to Sleep’. I met him at a joint book signing with Tess Gerritsen, and hearing him speak about the book and the belief he had in it made me very excited. The man himself is also very personable and approachable, and I am so pleased for his success. Needless to say I was very happy when he agreed to answer some Irreverent Questions!
See my review for just how much I loved Before I go to Sleep, then buy a copy in your favourite format and read it, you’ll thank me later!
On with the Irreverence!
What would you be or want to be (or still are), if you weren’t an author?
A rock star or an astronaut. Neither of those seem very likely, though.
Do you have any rituals or processes before you can start writing?
I wake up, make myself a huge mug of coffee, and then get to the desk. On a good day I manage to get into the book without logging onto Facebook first.
Describe your working environment right now (desk, sofa, bathroom, etc.)
I’m at my desk. It’s not very tidy, but I feel happy surrounded by books and pens and bits of paper.
How did you celebrate when your first book was published?
On the day it was published we had a launch party, so I celebrated with lots of wine and some good friends. There were no extravagant purchases, I didn’t get a tattoo.
Whose opinion matters most to you?
With writing? My first reader is always my partner. If it’s a thumbs down, then it’s back to the drawing board…
Do you get fully dressed to write?
I do now. I haven’t always, but I realised there was something not quite right about answering the door in my dressing gown at 3 o’clock in the afternoon.
What gets you in the mood or inspires you to write?
All sorts of things. Mostly a hunger to find out what I’m capable of, and what my characters will do next. Sometimes I don’t feel like writing though, and the only thing that gets me to my desk is the thought of the deadline.
Who would play you in the film adaptation of your life?
I have no idea…!
What is the weirdest comment you’ve had?
Not weird, as much as flattering, but I often get people telling me they’ve been so engrossed in the book that they’ve forgotten to feed their children/get off the bus/put the cat out/go to bed. That’s nice.
What is the best experience you’ve had with fans?
I love meeting the people that have read and enjoyed the book. No single experience stands out, though I really enjoyed the spot I did at the Harrogate Crime Writing Festival last year.
What do you value most?
My friends, my family, my health.
How do you deal with negative comments?
It depends on what’s motivated them. Often they’re motivated by jealousy or spite, and I ignore them. Those that aren’t? I try to see if there’s anything I can learn from them.
It’s movie night, the credits are just about to roll, Happy Ever After, Everyone Dies, Or…?
What do you do to relax?
Write. Read. Watch DVDs. Chat with friend about nonsense. Pet the dog.
Do you have pets, and if so, describe them?
We have a dog. Actually, she’s a weird alien creature, trapped in a dog’s body. She rules the house.
What are your preferred conditions for writing, i.e. silence, background noise, TV?
Music. It has to be lively, but instrumental. Or with words I don’t understand. I’m currently writing to Sigur Ros (who mostly sing in Icelandic), which is perfect, but taking the new book in some very odd directions.
What is your favourite type of music?
Loud, fast, angry, hard. Or slow, dreamy, blissful. I like extremes.
Do you have any phobias?
Yes. I hate frogs. And ketchup.
Do you find the time of year makes it easier or harder to write, are you inspired by spring or delayed by the summer heat for instance?
Not really. The distractions are different, but every season has its benefits and disadvantages.
Irreverent Questions is BookThing‘s fun, weekly feature where we ask a series of random questions that popped into Grete’s curious head. If you are an author and would like to take part, please get in touch!