…with Jane Harris
The Cartesian Theatre now welcomes guests from around the worldosphere, with an invitation to tell us all about themselves – in 25 words or less. Okay, okay, it’s not as bad as all that: they get 25 words per answer. They can wax lyrical if they want, but beware: I edit with an axe…
You know, I looked back at the three interviews I started with, then looked ahead at the ones to come, and I thought: scifi. There’s a whole lot of scifi goin’ on right here. Therefore, this week let’s give a big hand to Jane Harris, author of The Observations and Gillespie and I, historical novels which are, like the author herself, both playful and challenging…
Hi, Jane, tell us “all” about yourself.
I’m a writer of novels and short stories, and I live in London. You can find me on Twitter as @blablafishcakes.
What is the most inspirational thing you’ve ever read – and why?
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov – because the prose is just so rich and playful and clever and funny. Humbert Humbert is one of fiction’s most wonderful creations.
What was your first published work?
A short story entitled The Wardrobe. It was about a transvestite and it was published in an edition of New Writing Scotland in about 1990.
What is the best thing you’ve never had published?
Possibly the novel I wrote as part of my PhD. Someone at Flamingo wanted to publish it, but the marketing department weren’t so convinced.
What are you most proud of – in your life, not just your writing?
My life has been difficult for various reasons. I’m proud that I’m not only still here but that I seem to be increasingly robust.
Glad to hear it! Tell us about your latest work – novel, short story, shopping list, whatever.
I’m writing a novel that’s set in the Caribbean in the 18th Century. It’s based on a true story.
Pitch us your unwritten masterpiece – you’re in the Hollywood elevator now…
What if… I told you about it and you stole the idea? What about that, eh? Whaddya think I am, dumb or something?
I see… there will be a reckoning, Jane. In the meantime, if only one person was to ever read your work who would you want it to be?
Vladimir Nabokov – because I think he was a genius and I would love him to give me advice.
What are your plans for the future – all of it?
To live quietly, keep on writing novels and perhaps do a bit more teaching. Possibly return to writing for the screen in some way.
Okay, you can find out more about Jane at her blog, and maybe she’ll come back again one day, more under relaxed circumstances…
Unless trouble-making author Jane Harris strikes it big with a randomly generated blockbuster pitch, now and forever to be attributed solely to her, to wit:
What if [an irascible] [transportation manager] with [an aperture] and [a candelabrum] had to [crudely] [supervent] an [undershrub] that was [overturnable] to save the world?
I can already hear the mocking laughter of Hollywood ring out! Let this epic burn stand as a warning to future interviewees: