Waterstone’s Quarterly interview with Ian McEwan

Solar_article  I enjoyed browsing through the latest edition of Waterstone's Books Quarterly ,which I was given at the checkout last weekend after spending vast sums of money on some volumes for someone I live with. The highlight, for me, was a Q/A with author Ian McEwan, the questions being by Waterstone's customers, mainly about his latest novel Solar (which I am so much looking forward to reading). Here is my favourite bit:

Q: What has been the biggest change in you as a writer in …35 years and what has been the biggest change in publishing?

A: The biggest change in me probably came sometime in the early 1980s – becoming a father, stopping writing for a while and then going back to write A Child In Time [is this or Atonement my favourite book by this magnificent author?] . A sort of shift took place around that time. [Me too.] As for publishing, I can only draw on my own experience. Publishing in the 1970s was still a rather dusty, gentlemanly affair. It was still the time of the long two-bottle lunch and accountants were of very little importance. Not much money was made and one distrusted any writer who sold more than a couple of thousand copies of a book. I don't think novelists in those times were the subject of gossip columns, either. So everything has become a little louder, a little more vulgar, a little more trashy, a little more celebrity-conscious, sales-conscious. Less sleepy and considerably more sparky. More fun in lots of ways.

Solar is reviewed in the current issue of Nature (28 April 2010). Read more about the book at the author's website.