The first-time novelist asks why the media are so interested in herself, not her book, and why can't she be paid?
First: why do the media care so much about the novelist – what pen she uses, what time she gets up in the morning – when they should be concentrating on the novel?
A debut author's publicist tells her, as every honest publicist should, the bald truth: that newspapers like personal stories. Ideally, confessional stories. Best of all: confessional stories that relate to the fiction she spent years making up. So she spends years using her imagination only to discover that she must dig about in her psychoanalytic compost heap, and retrieve something that reveals that, in fact, she has not made it up at all.
As Malarky is an exploration of grief and sexuality, such a confessional would require, say, the insertion of an anecdote about how I liked to spy on men having sex in bathhouses. This would tidily explain how (or why) I created a novel in which, among a myriad other things, an Irish mother re-enacts her gay son's love acts.
The truth is otherwise: sadly, no splashy bathhouse peeping. Instead, I sat in a library surrounded by medical students and made it up. If you want the specifics: it was a banal cubicle at the back of the third floor of Vancouver general hospital Diamond building. I did, however, read an excellent book on Syrian underwear and ogled Comin' at Ya!: The homoerotic 3D photos of Denny Denfield.