Sunday, January 24, 2010

William Boyd

William Boyd's books include A Good Man in Africa, winner of the Whitbread Award and the Somerset Maugham Award; An Ice-Cream War, winner of the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and shortlisted for the Booker Prize; Brazzaville Beach, winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize; Any Human Heart, winner of the Prix Jean Monnet; Restless, winner of the Costa Novel of the Year; and the newly released Ordinary Thunderstorms.

From Boyd's Q & A with Cynthia Crossen at the Wall Street Journal:

"Ordinary Thunderstorms" is more like a thriller than many of your earlier novels.

There's a thrillerish aspect to it. I cherry-pick a genre if it suits me. I like a powerful narrative motor, and a genre will often provide that. Then I construct my elaborate, complex car around that motor. "Ordinary Thunderstorms" has the dynamic of the hunter and the hunted, but there's a lot more to it than that.

* * *
You've said that one of the seeds of "Ordinary Thunderstorms" was learning that the river police haul 50 or 60 bodies out of the Thames every year.

And that's just in London, not the length of the Thames. We never hear about these deaths unless they're particularly gruesome. The Thames is tidal—it has a fall of between 15 and 20 feet—and it's extraordinarily changeable. I live about 200 yards from it, and every time I walk by, it's different.
Read the complete interview.

Learn about William Boyd's thoughts on the perfect setting for writing.

--Marshal Zeringue