Over at the Herald, Alastair Mabbot discusses first books and their importance in the artist’s career.
It’s the music business cliche known to everyone: an artist gets his whole life to write a first album, but a few months to write the second.
That’s usually true of books as well. There’s a unique quality to debut novels, most of which were written with as much passion, intensity and conviction as an author can hope to experience, but usually without any hope of being published.
“This is something they might well have been working on for as long as they can remember,” says Pru Rowlandson. “Whereas, the second book, most of them manage to get out in a couple of years. It is also likely to be the most autobiographical thing you ever write.”
I guess I went about it the wrong way, then. Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits isn’t autobiographical in the traditional sense (I’ve never tried to cross the Mediterranean on a boat, never hustled for a job, etc.) while the novel I’m working on now is much more personal. One of the two main characters is a Moroccan woman who comes to the United States to study, for example, and the other is a man with a very conflicted relationship with his father.