Interview with Gareth Renowden

What happens if you don't write?
I get an itch. Finishing a major piece is nice, of course, like stopping banging your head against a wall, but after a few days I start to want to write something -- anything. Friends might get long emails, columns may get written. But knuckling down to start another major piece is very hard. I am a past master at dissembling. I can suddenly find a million things that need doing around the farm, or that need reading on the internet. Finally, the itch overcomes the inertia, and I'm off...
What do you read for pleasure?
You can't be a good writer if you don't read good books, so I try very hard to home in on those. In the days of difficult digital discovery, I tend to look out for new works by my favourite authors.
And those authors are?
It could be a long list. Some I like because of their writing, some I like because their writing gets out of the way of the story. A very few are great story tellers and fine stylists. You may decide for yourself where these names fall: Thomas Pynchon, Margaret Atwood, Iain Banks (both of him, and much missed), William Boyd, John Le Carré, Charles Dickens, Kim Stanley Robinson, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Alastair Reynolds, Michael Moorcock, Don De Lillo, Ian McEwan, Sebastian Faulks, Hilary Mantel, and so on...
What about favourite books? What's been influential?
If push came to shove, and as it's me interviewing myself it obviously does, then I'd have to plump for Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow. I read that as a student, and loved its density of words and ideas, its confabulation of history with fantasy. More than anything, though, it made me laugh. I love Catch 22 for the same reason. It's superbly written, evocative of a terrible time, but a superb example of the blackest black comedy. Sebastian Faulk's Birdsong is also a war book -- First World War, not WW2 -- and is far from funny, but Faulks manages some of the most moving descriptions of the carnage of the war in the trenches.

I also read Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years Of Solitude as a student, tipped off about its greatness by the bloke studying Spanish in the room next door at college. More mixing of reality with fantasy, a superbly evocative book -- but evocative of what? A sort of wistful imagined jungle, nostalgia for a time I'd never experienced -- so many layers... Some of Ray Bradbury does the same to me - his short story collection The Illustrated Man, particularly.
Published 2013-08-26.
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Books by This Author

The Aviator
By
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 107,710. Language: English. Published: August 23, 2012. Category: Fiction » Science fiction » General
Flying around a world battered by rapid climate change and struggling with economic collapse in his hi-tech airship, Lemmy encounters the remnants of our civilisation – the artificial intelligences searching for the singularity, a rocking bishop in his flying cathedral, the last climate sceptics, the technovegans and deep green terrorists, billionaire libertarians in their bubble, and much more.