Interview - Anna Stothard
Interview with Anna Stothard
Anna was born in London. She lived in Washington DC as a child, but grew up mostly in London with interludes in Beijing and New York. She studied English Literature at Oxford.
After university she moved to Los Angeles and was awarded a screenwriting scholarship at The American Film Institute. She lived in East Hollywood and spent two years reading LA noir novels, script supervising, painting sets, and getting lost on the labyrinthine public transport system because she refused to buy a car.
She has written weekly columns in The Observer and The Sunday Telegraph, as well as articles in other newspapers. Her first novel, Isabel and Rocco, was published in 2004, her second novel The Pink Hotel has just been published by Alma Books. She is now working on her third book.
1) What led you into writing?
Probably lying. The moment I realized I wasn’t meant to creatively re-invent the events of my days, I started writing stories.
2) What was your earliest career aspiration?
I always had glue on my fingers and paint knotted in my hair. I wanted to make furniture, or bind books. For a while, I wanted to be an altarpiece painter, but it turned out I was better with a pen than was at gilding halos.
3) Can you describe your latest book The Pink Hotel and its inspiration in thirty words?
A London girl gets more than she bargained for when she turns up to her mother’s funeral in LA. Inspiration came from stumbling on my mother’s old love letters, as a teenager, and from being an English girl living in LA.
4) Do you have any plans for your next book?
Yes. I’m half way through, but if I describe a story I’m writing it feels like letting a secret slip... the pressure lifts, which in this case wouldn’t be a good thing. It’s about the end of a relationship, though.
5) What has been the most exciting moment in your career?
Seeing my first novel, Isabel and Rocco, in print.
6) What are you reading right now?
I’m reading Raymond Carver short stories, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.
7) If you could have dinner with any three people, past or present, who would they be?
I’d have Ted Hughes, because his voice makes me melt. I grew up listening to him on audio-tapes. I’d rather not share him, but if I absolutely had to have three people, then I expect the Greek poet Sappho would be good value at a dinner party, and she’d get on well with Hughes. And then I’d throw in a young Truman Capote, to keep the glasses full. I’d let Ted Hughes carve, though.
8) Which period in history would you most like to have lived through?
Having recently returned from traveling in Syria, I’d chose to live in the oasis city of Palmyra under the rule of Queen Zenobia, around 260AD, when the warrior queen defied Roman rule and created a short-lived Palmyrene Empire. The ruins of Palmyra are breathtaking so it would have been amazing to see them in their glory-days, although perhaps not so much fun to be there when the Roman Emperor Aurelian turned up to ransack the city and bring Queen Zenobia to heel….
9) If your house was on fire, which three books would you save from the flames?
I’d save art books that belonged to my Grandma – one on Arthur Rackham, one on the evolution of Human Anatomy drawing, one on Aubrey Beadsley. They still have some of her sketches in them, fading between the pages.
10) What do you do to relax?
Drink. Read. Have baths. Sometimes all three together.
Visit Anna Stothard's website and blog at www.annastothard.com
Find out more about The Pink Hotel
Copyright © 2013 Alma Books Ltd.