Sion Scott-Wilson Interview
Posted on 16 July 2008. © Copyright 2004-2019 WriteWords
WriteWords talks to Sion Scott-Wilson about his debut novel|
Tell us something about your background.
I work in advertising. I've created hundreds of TV, radio
commercials over the years, I've written a regular column for a trade
magazine and had some short stories published. My novel, The
Sleepwalker's Introduction to Flight will be published by Macmillan
New Writers in May, the paperback will be published by Pan.
Other work besides writing; ie. Editing, dramaturgy, tutoring, etc
I view the advertising process as solving some kind of gigantic 3D
cryptic crossword puzzle with a tiny pencil stub. Fiction writing is
not the same thing at all. Having said that, I think my profession
has trained me to be sparing with words. I tend not to use adverbs
muchly. I dislike overwriting - I like a point and I like a plot. But
at the end of the day, character is everything. If I care about the
character, I can care about his or her journey to the corner shop.
I come from quite a theatrical family.
I am amazed that you've used 'Dramaturgy' here. It's like Thamauturgy,
without the magic. I think most theatre is balls-achingly dull and
gets laughs for the weakest jokes, because the audience feels the
actor's pain. It's usually the writer's incompetence. Po-face and
Earnest are the horrible bastard step-children of Wit and Joy.
How did you start writing?
I've been writing since I was able to speak. I used to hold my
sisters and their friends enthralled with tales of the creatures who
lived under the toilet seat.
Who are your favourite writers and why?
John Kennedy Toole: Confederacy of Dunces. Ignatius O' Reilly. Most
gorgeous anti-hero ever created. There's a very respectful nod to him
in my own novel.
JP. Donleavy. I lived my life at university like the Ginger Man. My
21st Birthday was spent in the dock at Exeter Crown Court.
I was of course, acquitted.
How did you get your first agent/ commission/publication?
I sent my work to Macmillan.
What's the worst thing about writing?
Isolation and viruses. I hate viruses, I hate the people who create
them. I keep smashing keyboards. Now that I use a mac, I keep
Tell us what kind of response you get from audiences/readers and
I've had some wonderful reviews. (and very touching letters) But then
Sleepwalkers doesn't fit into any genre, so it was always going to be
a slow-burn. Mostly, my reviews have focused on the life-affirming
nature of the novel.
What was your breakthrough moment?
David Mitchell snorting with laughter at an earlier novel. It meant a
great deal to me. It meant that I was able to keep going in at my own
thing which doesn't fit into a literary genre but does seem to fit a
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