When did you start writing?
I’ve always written. As a child and an adolescent I began by copying the writers I most admired, then I began slowly to find my own style. It took a while, but eventually it began to emerge when I was in my twenties, although it wasn’t until several years later that I felt confident enough to take the plunge and try to make a living from writing books. Until Chocolat, the thought had never crossed my mind; I liked my teaching job; I enjoyed writing in my spare time, and until then the two things had been perfectly compatible. With the success of Chocolat, I found that the demands being made on me to promote the book in England and abroad were too much for me to handle whilst teaching full-time, and with some regret (and a lot of anxiety) I had to make a choice. I’m glad I made it; but it was a tough decision.
What 3 things (not including paper, computer, pens) would you like to facilitate a good days writing?
Light: silence: a good night’s sleep.
Do you write to a schedule, eg every day or three times a week, set times, etc or do you write as and when the mood strikes?
I travel to promote the books all year round, so I rarely get the chance to develop a working routine. Instead I write when I can; usually when I am at home, although I have been known to write in hotel rooms, at airports and on trains. I use a laptop so that I can use any available time, and I carry notebooks around with me so that I can jot down thoughts and ideas. I tend to work better in the morning, and when I am at home I try to write then, although I can’t always be choosy, especially when faced with deadlines (which I hate). I prefer to be on my own, although when I have to (and when I’m in the Zone) I can write on a train, in my daughter’s playroom or in a classroom full of pupils. My optimal writing conditions are: an empty house; a tidy desk; an endless supply of tea and biscuits; fine weather (I don’t write as well in winter, when I get depressed, or at night); and no deadline. Needless to say these rarely, if ever, occur….
What are your favourite biscuits?
Jammie Dodgers, for the nostalgia.
What book are you reading at the moment?
Stephen King’s MR MERCEDES.
You use social media (facebook, twitter, instagram etc) to engage with your audience, do you think it helps sales and do you find it fun or a chore?
I don’t think social media is, or should be, about sales. It’s about connecting with people; staying in touch with people I wish I saw more of; discovering new things; exchanging ideas. If it were a chore, I wouldn’t do it. I try to avoid chores.
Do you own an e-reader? and do you prefer to read digital or paper copy?
I don’t have an e-reader, although I keep telling myself I should have one (if only for long flights). I like paper books for the range of sensations they provide that an e-reader can’t.
Do you dream in colour?
Yes; colour and scent. (ooh interesting, I hadn't thought about scent in dreams, I do know that water never feels right in my dreams and always clues me in that I'm dreaming!)
If reading and writing were banned, what would you do instead?
Rebel against the establishment; make gardens; create perfumes. Possibly go insane.
What is your ideal holiday?
Three weeks on the LOST island. Minus the bears.
Joanne has written many books, and I have yet to read them all (adds them all to Goodreads list) I have an unabridged audio book of Chocolat read by Juliet Stevenson though and it does make quite sublime listening.
Find out more about the books Joanne has written here on her website http://www.joanne-harris.co.uk/books/
You can follow and chat to her on Twitter https://twitter.com/Joannechocolat
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