The Interview: Bookbag Talks To Chris Worthington

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The Interview: Bookbag Talks To Chris Worthington


Summary: We were completely taken by the idea behind Setting The Record Straight of paying a complete stranger to take revenge on someone who has hurt you and we had quite a few questions to ask author Chris Worthington when he popped in to see us.
Date: 2 September 2012
Interviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee

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We were completely taken by the idea behind Setting The Record Straight of paying a complete stranger to take revenge on someone who has hurt you and we had quite a few questions to ask author Chris Worthington when he popped in to see us.

  • Bookbag: When you close your eyes and imagine your readers, who do you see?

Chris Worthington: Without wanting to rule anyone out, I guess I see a slightly older audience for this book – maybe people who would have a better idea as to where I’m coming from with the premise behind the story. Having said that though I’d be very happy for anyone to read it and let me know what they think.

  • BB: I loved the idea in Setting The Record Straight of hiring complete strangers to get revenge on someone with whom you were once involved. Where did you get this idea?

CW: Other than from a slightly warped mind I genuinely can’t remember!! The original idea was for a couple who were still together to set this up as some strange sort of joint business, but I could never find a believable rationale for a couple to do this. It sort of developed from there over a period of quite a few years.

  • BB: Have you ever wanted revenge this badly yourself?

CW: Not personally no, but the concept of 'emotional revenge' is intriguing. The thought of physical revenge against people or property horrifies me, but to get back at someone in this way, via a third party … well, it’s an interesting idea.

  • BB: What do you find most gratifying about writing?

CW: I find the process of writing extremely hard 'work', but to finally complete something and to be satisfied with the end result is a great feeling. Then the icing on the cake is to look at your sales figures and find out that people around the country are buying and hopefully enjoying it.

  • BB: I was very impressed by how well you brought parts of the USA off the page. It's obviously not just the tourist trip that you've done. How do you know it so well?

CW: I lived in the USA for three years (one year in Texas, and two years in New Jersey) while working as a research scientist. I met many wonderful people over there and have either lived in or visited the areas described in the book. I think the USA is an amazing country, and "Setting The Record Straight" couldn’t really have been set anywhere else.

  • BB: Where's the best place in the world to live?

CW: I have travelled around the world to some extent – although not nearly as much as I would like to – but of all the cities I have been to I would say that London is my favourite for all sorts of historical and cultural reasons. I could certainly live in America, (or Australia where I have also visited), but I still think the UK is the best – and Oxfordshire and Warwickshire are two of my favourite counties.

  • BB: Where and how do you write? With music or without? How long did it take you to write 'Setting the Record Straight'?

CW: Most of "Setting The Record Straight" was written in car parks … some of them underground! And without music. Writing at home is difficult for a number of reasons so most has been done in the occasional half hour during lunch breaks at work. The first draft of this novel was sent off to be reviewed in 2005 – so it has taken well over ten years to complete (including 3 rewrites).

  • BB: You're obviously an experienced writer, but what does reading mean to you? What are you reading at the moment and what's the book which has made the most impact on you?

CW: I love to read and now intend to spend a bit more time doing so. At the moment I am reading a book about Shakespeare by Bill Bryson. Favourite authors of mine are Bill Bryson and David Lodge. I also love John Grisham’s novels, and occasionally the Jeeves novels by P.G. Wodehouse. The book which has made the most impact on me though is a scientific work by Sir Roger Penrose called "The Road To Reality". This would be my one book for that desert island.

  • BB: You've got one wish. What's it to be?

CW: I’ve always envisaged "Setting The Record Straight" as a film, so my wish would be for it to be made into a Hollywood movie and then to attend the red carpet premiere in Los Angeles.

  • BB: We'll keep our fingers crossed for that one, Chris. What's next for Chris Worthington?

CW: I’ve nearly finished a second novel – this time a high tech thriller – and I’ve also got several ideas for a follow on story to "Setting The Record Straight". I would also like to write historical fiction if time permits.

  • BB: It sounds as though you're going to be busy, Chris. Good luck with it all.

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