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.