asked me what I would ask if guaranteed an honest response.


I thought of Roswell. I thought of the Falklands. I thought of JFK. I thought of 9/11. I thought of Shock Doctrine.

I thought of asking David Lynch whether he had any idea what he was creating when he filmed Mulholland Drive, how incredible that film would be.

But in the end, the one question that I would ask is simply: does my writing affect you in any way?

That's partly vanity, partly narcissism – it's lonely, writing – but mainly it's because it's nearly impossible to get an honest answer. If I ask people who I know, they generally want to discuss the process, and people who I don't know don't generally drop me a line to tell me how they're feeling!

That's why Sue Simpson's quote on the hardcover of 'Do Sparrows Eat Butterflies?' is so important – it came as a gift of honest and open feedback with no vested interest:

"Fifteen years from now I could be asked to describe Sparrows and I'd be able to. I'm not bullshitting you when I say it's one of the best things I've ever read… this is a story you don't read, you look at the words and it tells itself. It's one of the most alive stories I ever read… Brilliant…"

So… Does my writing affect you in any way?

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