Must ... stop ... writing ... Sometimes I really wish I could. It gets in the way of real life. At the weekend I prefer sitting in front of the computer with my pretend friends instead of going out with my real ones. It destroys my sleep. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night knowing I need to change one word in the paragraph I wrote the evening before - and I have to get up and do it. And it makes me a dangerous driver. Get me on the road and my characters start having conversations in my head. And why are they so much more lucid and logical then than when I attempt to scribble them down at the next red light?I write because I love language. I love English with its collection of mongrel words. It's like an enormous button box where you can pick between half a dozen languages each one of which holds the history of Britain at its heart. I love the shape of words and the sound of them. I love what you can make them do on the page. And what you can make them do to your readers. Laugh, cry, stay up at night.What I like best is having a conversation with a reader about one of my characters. The reader talks about my character as if s/he is a real person. Discusses the character's motivation. Speculates about what the character did after the end of the novel. And I think, but it's all made up. Every bit of it. Out of my head.Then I know it is all worthwhile. Bringing characters alive to walk on the page. Creating a world for them to live in. Immersing myself in the shape and rhythm of a novel in the making. It's exciting stuff. And it's even more exciting when the book is finished and I hand it over to you, the reader. Enjoy!