Monday, May 23, 2016

Louise Doughty: ‘I don’t think I write thrillers – but other people seem to’

The author of Apple Tree Yard on the Indonesian roots of her new novel Black Water – and why she’s glad to see the back of ‘chicklit’

Louise Doughty: ‘I can only write whatever idea grips me by the throat’

Louise Doughty: ‘I can only write whatever idea grips me by the throat.’ Photograph: Ulf Andersen/Getty Images
Louise Doughty was born in the East Midlands in 1963. She took an MA in creative writing at the University of East Anglia and has written eight novels, including her latest, Black Water, which is published by Faber on 2 June.
Black Water is your eighth novel, and is set in Bali, a place you’d never been to until a few years ago. Why are your books always changing direction?

I’ve realised over the years that I’m just no good at thinking strategically as a novelist. I never think, oh this did really well, I’ll do it again. I’m much more likely to think, oh this did really well, let’s do something completely different now.

And it is very different from the two novels that preceded it, Whatever You Love and Apple Tree Yard
They were both female first-person narratives, with a lot in the present tense, so they were very immediate. They were also very much about women’s preoccupations at certain stages in life: so Whatever You Love, having children, Apple Tree Yard, being a middle-aged woman having knee tremblers in parliament. I think I just really needed to do something in a different tone of voice.


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