Exclusive Q&A with UK novelist Nicholas Leigh

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Nicholas Leigh’s thrillers might be described as ‘intelligent’ and ‘individualistic’, but they’re much more than that – they’re thrilling. We caught up with the Blood Harmonies author to find out more about his inspiration and his new novella, Two Women.

SWNS: Who is your perfect reader?

Nicholas Leigh (NL): Someone who is willing to take the journey I have planned for them, through to the end.

SWNS: Where do you write best?

NL: I can write anywhere, although nowadays my two favourite places to write are at home in bed or whilst travelling. The movement and excitement of travelling creates an energy that seems to stimulate writing, whilst being in bed at home is always comfortable.

SWNS: Do you have a particular writing routine?

NL: I don’t have a ritualistic routine, such as use of certain pens or paper, although I am a huge fan of stationery, which I think is a frequent precursor to becoming a writer. Once I have planned the story as well as I can using a mix of pens/paper and iPad, I write the novel on my iPad and laptop, going back and forth between the two, depending on where I am. If I have control of my environment, my routine usually extends to drinking tea and coffee and listening to music whilst writing. If I am on a crowded Tube, it’s nice just to have somewhere to lean.

SWNS: Which piece of work are you singularly most proud of?

NL: I am proud of all of my books, for different reasons. I do have a particular soft spot for Two Women, as it is a story that finds optimism and love in the darkest of situations.

SWNS: What makes the perfect thriller?

NL: For me, the perfect thriller is one that tells a gripping, dramatic, surprising, unexpected story, and has the hallmarks of high quality fiction, including strong, believable characters, resonant themes and cracking, memorable dialogue.

SWNS: Does your day job inspire or influence your fiction in any way?

NL: Although I am a lawyer, I don’t write legal fiction, so my job does not have a direct impact on what I write. But law is a human business, with people in extreme situations where high stakes are involved, so it offers frequent insights into human nature and how people behave in difficult circumstances.

SWNS: What are you working on now?

NL: I am writing a new book at the moment, which involves a mysterious event that occurs during a terrorist attack in London. I am also developing several other stories, which are in various states. I always try to develop outlines so that I have a fully-formed story for a new novel by the time I have finished the current book I am working on.

SWNS: What prompted you to become a novelist?

NL: I started writing when I was 13, short pieces and scripts on a manual typewriter (which I loved), and made some films with my friends during my teenage years. When I went to university, I decided to try writing a novel. It took me several attempts before I began to understand how to write, but as I have loved the process from the beginning, writing has been a constant pleasure.

SWNS: What three books could you never be without?

NL: I don’t often re-read books, as there are so many I want to read and haven’t yet got to. But two authors I tend to re-read are Kurt Vonnegut and Philip Roth, two absolute masters albeit very different writers. I also adore Paul Auster, and have read The New York Trilogy probably more often than any other novel.

SWNS: Name three books that you didn’t finish.

NL: Although I love Dickens, I stopped about halfway through Nicholas Nickleby, meaning to go back to it, but never did. I did not do very well with Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon. I have also started a number of autobiographies that turned out to be much less interesting than I expected, but it would be rude to say whose …

Nicholas Leigh is a British author whose intelligent and individualistic novels are based on relationships and human interactions. His books include Blood Harmonies, The Condition, The Confession of Dieter Berenson, and his latest novella, Two Women. All are available now through Liborwich Publishing on Amazon UK

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