What inspired you growing up to write?
I always wrote but the catalyst was a novel. Reading it some two decades ago was what made me consciously decide that I really wanted to write books some day, in fact. So the book is called The Information and it's by Martin Amis. I remember because I still have my own copy of that First Edition published in 1995, so this is twenty years ago now when I was still at Boarding School on the South East coast of England. I must have spent months rereading pages of that book as much for the language and style as for anything else.
It just had the most incredible use of language I had ever encountered. I can still remember the first line of the book to this day, in fact. It made that much of an impression on me: "Cities at night, I feel, contain men who cry in their sleep and then say Nothing." Apart from being beautifully-constructed, what is unusual about that line is that the narrator here is omniscent, for the rest of the book (for the most part) is all told in the third person.
Anyway, reading The Information in conjunction with writers such as J.G. Ballard and Don DeLillo taught me that books can be about language as much as they can be about plot, and that these two concepts can be inextricably linked to create a sort of narrative poetry. It's the equivalent in movies, where you have action-packed blockbusters for kids, and then there's really serious film-making on the other end of the scale (serious in terms of the end result contributing meaningfully to our development of artistic sense, that is). A really great cinematographer can take any half-decent film reel and create a visual masterpiece. That's a writer's job when it comes to language, I have always thought.
If you have ONE VERY QUICK QUESTION for Daniel, you can address it to Karine Price and send it along to kp[at]dmh.co for answer up on this sideboard!