The Interview: Bookbag Talks To Anthony Gardner

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The Interview: Bookbag Talks To Anthony Gardner

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Summary: Jill thought that Fox by Anthony Gardner was plot-focused and had twists to suit every thriller fan. She was impressed by the serious depiction of the downtrodden individual against the erosion of hard-won civil liberties. There was quite a lot to chat about when the author popped into Bookbag Towers.
Date: 16 February 2106
Interviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy

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Jill thought that Fox by Anthony Gardner was plot-focused and had twists to suit every thriller fan. She was impressed by the serious depiction of the downtrodden individual against the erosion of hard-won civil liberties. There was quite a lot to chat about when the author popped into Bookbag Towers.

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

Anthony Gardner: Nice, intelligent people sitting by the fire with a cup of tea and plate of crumpets at their elbow.

  • BB: What inspired you to write Fox?

AG: The initial inspiration was seeing all the foxes running around London and wondering what on earth the government would do if they caught a dangerous disease. At the same time I noticed surveillance cameras appearing all over the place, and in the wonderful way of novels, the two became intertwined in my mind

  • BB: Personal freedom or national security? Are they incompatible? Where do you stand?

AG: They shouldn’t be incompatible: the problem comes with those in charge of national security get too full of themselves and start taking liberties with our liberties. The ancient Greek tragedians were right – it all comes down to hubris. These people must be held to account.

  • BB: Ok. We know she's not a major character, but we loved Jennifer Pettifer. She's a genius creation! Have you ever met someone like her?

AG: I haven’t, but I’m sure there are equvalents in government offices across the land. Her letter to Matt borrows from one that was sent to me by Wandsworth Council.

  • BB: Will we ever meet any of Fox's characters again?

AG: It’s possible that the villainous Prime Minister will feature in another novel in the same vein.

  • BB: The book's production values are superlative. How important was this to you?

AG: Very: I love books for their appearance as well as their content. The hardback of Fox was largely inspired by a 1930s children’s book.

  • BB: What would be your desert island book?

AG: The Great Gatsby – I’d like to learn it by heart.

  • BB: Where and how do you write?

AG: In a hut at the bottom of the garden. I write the first draft with a pen and paper, and then type it into my computer, editing as I go. I aim to write 1,000 words a day, and I sit at my desk for as long as that takes.

  • BB: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

AG: Be patient! A book is a marathon, so don’t expect it to take less than a couple of years to write. And if it doesn’t find an audience at once, its moment may come later. My first novel, The Rivers of Heaven, spent sixteen years in a bottom drawer.

  • BB: What's next for Anthony Gardner?

AG: I’m halfway through a novel set partly in the 1970s and partly in the present day. I’ve also written a children’s book, based on a series of drawings from the 1930s, which is being sent to publishers now.

  • BB: Thanks for taking the time to chat to us - and we're looking forward to encountering the Prime Minister again.

You can read more about Anthony Gardner here.

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