Alison Moore rose to prominence last year when her first novel The Lighthouse was long-listed - and then short-listed - for the Man Booker Prize before it was even published! But she'd been writing short stories and winning competitions long before that. I kind of felt Moore was having the career that I aspire to, so that made me even more curious about her.
As I was writing this I thought Hey! Wouldn't it be great to ask Alison some questions of my own! So I contacted her and asked this:
You were short-listed for the Man Booker Prize with your first novel, does that concern you now that you're working on your second? Are you feeling an extra pressure? (Apologies for putting the thought in your head if you haven't!)
When I wrote The Lighthouse, hardly anyone knew I was writing a novel at all. I don't have the same hidey-hole with the second one but I did keep it all to myself until the first draft was done, and having my collection out this year helped as events have been focused on that, enabling novel #2 to remain in the shadows.
A writer friend of mine wrote a blog post today about people disliking her unsympathetic characters and ambiguous endings, and as a result she's been getting 1 star reviews. You said on Saturday that some people can't relate to your characters either, how do you deal with negative comments/reviews?
I know The Lighthouse won't be everyone's cup of tea - I'm just glad that it's also found plenty of people who have responded to it so enthusiastically. One thing I really like is that some people have found Futh utterly infuriating and yet despite this have found themselves caring very much about what happens to him and rooting for him.
|Alison and interviewer Johnny Mains before the event -|
with thanks to Johnny for the permission to use this photo
Well it's been like ten years worth of good stuff rolled into one! The success of The Lighthouse has enabled me to write for a living, and I would have found it difficult to fit in writing alongside all the other opportunities except that my son started school this year so I'm writing or doing writing-related work full-time now.
And finally, you've just brought out a short story collection. I love reading and writing short stories myself, but I know how hard it is to convince the reading public. Do you think short stories will ever be given the acclaim they deserve?
I wonder if it's partly about exposure - I don't think many short stories cropped up during my education. My rooting out of contemporary short stories was initially via magazines that I was reading as a writer or would-be writer. I'd like to have got my hands on Salt's Best British Short Stories (edited by Nicholas Royle) and Best British Horror (edited by Johnny Mains, and out next year) a couple of decades ago. Now I've got shelves full of short story treasure - I get very excited about my favourites.
Thank you so much for the interview, Alison!
You can find out all you need to know about Alison Moore from her website.
Alison also appears in The Screaming Book of Horror (edited by Johnny Mains, the host of the event).