Over the coming months, we’ll be interviewing a range of fabulous guests from the book world and beyond, in our new series, Eight Questions Only.

Over the coming months, we’ll be interviewing a range of fabulous guests from the book world and beyond, in our new series, Eight Questions Only.

Over the coming months, we’ll be interviewing a range of fabulous guests from the book world and beyond, in our new series, Eight Questions Only.

Eight Questions Only

Alice Winn

 
1. What was the last book you read?
I just finished an excellent book about severed heads.
 
2. Where is your favourite place to write?
I like a quiet laptop-y coffee shop! The kind where everyone else is industriously working so I feel social pressure not to waste time on the internet.
 
3. A completely free afternoon; what do you do?
Oh, I probably squander it. But ideally I suppose I spend it lounging around talking with friends.
 
4. The place on Earth you’d most like to visit?
I feel as if I’m always, always travelling. I think I would like to live in a little cottage on a moor somewhere for three months all by myself. Or maybe that would be horrible?
 
5. Your dream dinner party guests — pick three and tell us why.
Three is not enough. But I want Oscar Wilde because he’s fun, the French statesman Talleyrand because he’s sinisterly charming, and Jane Austen to help smooth things over if the party is going in the wrong direction. 
 
6. Who is your literary hero/heroine?
I strive to be like Marmee from Little Woman.
 
7. You’re stranded on a desert island, which 3 books do you take with you?
Well first, let’s be honest: I perish instantly. But I suppose something philosophical would be good, Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations for instance. Catch-22 is a book I can read over and over again, and then maybe Bridget Jones to cheer me up.
 
8. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
My father tells me to be genuinely happy for my rivals! This is very good advice.

Eight Questions Only

Sarah Turner

1. What was the last book you read?
A Lady’s Guide to Fortune Hunting by Sophie Irwin. I loved it.
 
2. Where is your favourite place to write?
I enjoy parking myself in a nice café, somewhere I can watch the world go by. However, I get more work done at my desk where there is no window …
 
3. A completely free afternoon; what do you do?
My dream afternoon would be to go to a spa, enjoy a couple of treatments then read uninterrupted until it was time for a swanky dinner. Yes please.
 
4. The place on Earth you’d most like to visit?
Japan.
 
5. Your dream dinner party guests — pick three and tell us why.
I find this hard because the people I would love to meet are also people I would be so panicked about meeting that I wouldn’t enjoy my dinner! I’m going to say Dawn French (legend), Brandon Flowers from The Killers (biggest crush) and Coleen Rooney (I’m fascinated by her).
 
6. Who is your literary hero/heroine?
Elizabeth Zott from Lessons in Chemistry.
 
7. You’re stranded on a desert island, which 3 books do you take with you?
Wuthering Heights, A Boy Made of Blocks, Normal People. 
 
8. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
“Do your future self a favour.” I use this mantra daily and it even made its way into Stepping Up

Eight Questions Only

Coco Mellors

Coco Mellors is an author and copywriter from London and New York, now residing in Los Angeles. Effortlessly glamourous – we want every item of clothing in her wardrobe immediately. Cleopatra and Frankenstein is her debut novel which we were both besotted with. Check out our spoiler free interview with Coco here. Currently she is working with Warner Brothers on the TV adaptation of C & F whilst also finding the time to write her second novel, which is awaited with anticipation from readers who have fallen in love with her narrative voice.

1. What was the last book you read?
 Lessons by Ian McEwan. I loved it! 
 
2. Where is your favourite place to write?
In New York, the eighth floor of NYU’s library Bobst, which has a great view of the Empire State Building. In Paris, the art history research room at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France because my friend Albert writes there and gives me snacks. In Los Angeles, my study because I’ve never had one of my own before and it still feels like the pinnacle of adulthood to me.  
 
3. A completely free afternoon; what do you do?
Eat cake, practice line dancing, go to the cinema, snuggle with my husband, read in bed. 
 
4. The place on Earth you’d most like to visit?
Jaipur, India. 
 
 

eat cake, practice line dancing, go to the cinema...

5. Your dream dinner party guests — pick three and tell us why.
Zadie Smith, Florence Welch and Steve McQueen because they’re all brilliant Brits. Also, someone who can cook because I can’t!  
 
6. Who is your literary hero/heroine?
From the present, Barbara Kingsolver. From the past, D.H. Lawrence and Toni Morrison. 
 
7. You’re stranded on a desert island, which 3 books do you take with you?
There’s a lot of contemporary fiction I love, but I think I’d go for comforting classics I could read again and again: Middlemarch, Moby Dick, and The Odyssey. 
 
8. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
“Don’t be afraid to entertain” from my writing teacher, Rick Moody. 

Eight Questions Only

Gabrielle Zevin

Gabrielle Kevin is a New York Times best-selling novelist whose books have been translated into forty languages.

Her tenth novel, Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow was an instant New York Times Best Seller, a Sunday Times Best Seller, a USA Today Best Seller and a #1 National Indie Best Seller.

We were both utterly blown away by this incredible and unforgettable novel and had the honour of getting to chat to Gabrielle about it in our bibliochat. If you missed it, click here. We are equally chuffed that she joined us here for Eight Questions Only. Get stuck in, it’s a good ‘un…

1. What was the last book you read?

People Love Dead Jews by Dara Horn is an essay collection about modern anti-Semitism, among other things. Dara Horn is a fine thinker and a pleasure to read. 

 

2. Where is your favourite place to write?

Honestly, I’m no frills. The only thing I require is a certain amount of quiet.

 
3. A completely free afternoon; what do you do?

Sleep. Find something beautiful to see. Read. 

4. The place on Earth you’d most like to visit?
I’ve traveled a fair amount in Asia, but I’ve never gone to Korea. (And I’m Korean!)
 
5. Your dream dinner party guests — pick three and tell us why.
 My undead guest is Emily Dickinson, because I’d like to ask her a particular question about one of her poems. Onto the living! I’m boldly inviting the Bibliofilles — I feel like you both would round out any party well.
 
6. Who is your literary hero/heroine?
When I was younger and more nihilistic, it was probably Lily Bart or one of the other mildly depressed, under skilled, overly intelligent women of literature. Anna Karenina. Isabelle Archer. More recently, I’d say Carrie Soto really resonated with me — I like when she fires her coach and she says that she wanted someone in her career who was as ambitious for her as she was for herself. I’ve said variations on those words about my own career. 
 
7. You’re stranded on a desert island, which 3 books do you take with you?
How long will this last? Will I be rescued at some point? I’m not a survivor!  Maybe a dictionary. Maybe an anthology of poetry or plays. Maybe something with survival skills. Maybe the very impractical and egotistical thing of taking one of my own books. I imagine it would be comforting to be reminded of my once privileged life as a writer. 

8. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
A long time ago, I wrote a play that was a breakthrough for me creatively, but it failed commercially. A friend of mine told me that doing good work, even in the absence of external validation, makes you better. And I think he was right. 
 

Eight Questions Only

Sarah Winman

Still Life by Sarah Winman is a novel that totally blew us away last year. In fact, one of us spent the entirety of her ten year wedding anniversary weekend away with her nose firmly stuck in it (apologies, husband, but you know how I roll). If you missed our Bibliochat with Sarah about the book, click here to watch. After its paperback release in March, Still Life’s popularity continues to grow and we are thrilled to have Sarah back as our first Eight Questions Only guest.

1. What was the last book you read?
The Magician by Colm Toibin.

2. Where is your favourite place to write?
In bed, usually, if I’m having a difficult time with the story. The intimacy and privacy of bed helps enormously. But I don’t wake up and start writing. Bed for me is a destination. So I get up, wash, dress, breakfast. And then I go to bed… 

3. A completely free afternoon; what do you do?
I would either go to the Women’s Ponds in Hampstead or go to the cinema. 

 

a sun that barely breaks the horizon and the silence of snow. 

4. The place on Earth you’d most like to visit?
Lofoten Islands, I think, in the Arctic Circle. I’d like to go in winter and experience the northern lights, or a sun that barely breaks the horizon and the silence of snow.

5. Your dream dinner party guests — pick three and tell us why.
Patsy, my partner, because she’s the best person I know to have at a dinner party. Patti Smith. Because… (love) And a photographer I know, Christian Doyle, because she’s great company and a great giggler.

6. Who is your literary hero/heroine?
Toni Morrison. 

7. You’re stranded on a desert island, which 3 books do you take with you?
Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison. Honey from a Weed by Patience Gray and Ulysses by James Joyce.

8. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Seek out that which magnifies your spirit and visit it often.