Interview With a Writer

Holiday’s over. The structural edit of Anyone For Seconds? just landed on my desk, although thanks to the great British Christmas/New Year shutdown I have until January to deal with it. And exactly how do I do that? What is my process? To find out, I thought I’d allow that well-known red-top journalist Larry O’Gargle to interview me.

O’G:  So, Lauren, how do you tackle revisions?’

LG: It’s Laurie, actually. Well I do the easiest bits first. Typos, grammatical bloopers, that kind of thing. Then I look at my editor’s comments.

O’G: That must be pretty galling. I mean, it’s your book. Your editor’s not Colm Feckin Toibin  is he? What does he know?

LG: No, I don’t think Colm needs editing gigs these days. But funnily enough editors sometimes make very good suggestions. They have the benefit of distance.

O’G: Because he’s in London and you’re in Dublin?

LG: I meant creative distance. An editor hasn’t been living with those characters for nine months. They see things more clearly.

O’G: Okay. So this editor says “I think you should do this, this and this”. Then what?

LG: I give each suggestion careful consideration.

O’G: And then?

LG: I go for a walk. Clean the windows. Put a new plug on the iron. Then I start working the good suggestions into the story. It isn’t easy because my first draft is quite tightly written.

O’G: You mean you’ve had a few when you sit down at the typewriter?

LG: No, I mean structurally it’s quite tight. To introduce something new, for instance, means taking things apart a bit first. Like unravelling an almost finished sweater to incorporate a new motif.

O’G:  Such as a Rudolf the Red-Nosed reindeer head?

LG: Yes.

O’G: And what about the suggestions you don’t like?

LG: I ignore them.

O’G: Do you, you little divil! Doesn’t that land you on the bold step?

LG: No. My editor respects my judgment and I respect hers.

O’G: Isn’t that something. Well thank you, Lauren Grantham, for that very interesting glimpse into the life of a scribbler. And good luck with Rudolf head.


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