The Playwright and food blogger Writing books about books. also mermaids
What is The Book Of Speculation about?
It’s about Simon Watson, a research librarian who receives a mysterious book which unearths a family curse that’s been killing women in his family for centuries. He’s frantic to break the curse before his sister becomes its next victim. His efforts lead him to uncover the twisted history of a travelling circus in the 1790s, drowning mermaids, tarot, star-crossed lovers, and the secret lives his parents led.
What are the big themes/ideas you tackle in the book?
Inheritance, loss, obligation, and the different shapes love and family can take. I went broad with themes. They’re tied together through a love for books and the written word. It’s in no small way a book for bibliophiles.
How long did it take you to write?
It took the better part of a decade to figure out not just what I wanted to write, but how to write it. I had the idea long before I had the skill to commit it to paper. I’ve lost count of the number of drafts, but there are more than enough pages to fill a room.
Which SF/fantasy authors would you like to be compared to in a dream review?
Susanna Clarke or Neil Gaiman would be right up there. Those comparisons are never going to happen for me, but I deeply admire the humour and intelligence that bubbles in their writing. I also have an enormous book crush on Kirsty Logan.
The Book Of Speculation is published by Atlantic Books on 4 February.