Here are some answers to questions that seem to come up at interviews and q&a sessions and from previous websites divided into three broad areas. If you have a question that you think might interest others too, and can't find an answer here, email Romesh and ask. You never know, he might add it to the list with an answer. Otherwise scroll down and see if your question is already answered.
Where can I find a full list of your publications?
Are there any free downloads?
Yes. At Free Downloads. You need to sign up to join the mailing list. You will then be automatically redirected to the downloads page.
Why are there only good reviews of your books on your website?
We have selected ones that have been easy to digitise, or are available on-line. Also followed the wisdom of the ages and chucked the rubbish.
Why can't I share a page I really like or really dislike with a share button?
You can with some. Our Chief Engineer is working on a solution to the others, but in the meantime there is a work-around. Either the old fashioned 'copy the url' and post, or if there is an image on the page, you can Pin it with Pinterest.
What is Star Vista and how do I see it?
This is a special page for supporters. If you are interested go to Donations.
Why the moon?
Because it is there
The Writing Lark
1. Will you read my manuscript and give me some advice?
Yes, there is a system by which you can get advice on your writing. Depending on your commitment/interest/... availability/budget choose between joining one of my workshops (see What's on?), or apply for a place on the Gold Dust Mentoring Scheme specifying Romesh Gunesekera as your preferred mentor. In the days before internet and mentoring schemes, I have been approached with manuscripts beautifully bound with a $100 note under the title page, but that is no longer a viable option.
2. Will you come and give a talk at our library/book club/school/conference/festival/supper club/workshop/gala dinner/training day/charity function/birthday party/tribunal/opening?
Anything is possible, but please bear in mind I will need to travel from London at your cost and for most events the Society of Authors' have guidance on minimum fees at Guidelines.
Please also have a look at one of the many sites on-line that give you tips on organising an event. Most of these seem obvious once they have been pointed out, but a surprising number of event organisers miss them. So please prepare. Making sure there is an audience is a good start.
Please also bear in mind that writers may not behave the way their characters and narrators do, and need the normal creature comforts of anybody else. Food, drink, shelter and an enticement to leave the place where they are writing. If you sign up at free downloads you can take a quiz to see how well prepared you are.
3. How come you get published, but I don't?
Luck of the draw, I guess.
4. How did you become a writer?
Mostly by writing. Chekov said you can't call yourself a writer, until you've written seven books. At last I have.
5. I am wondering whether to invest the time in writing? Is it worth it?
Only you can see this deeply philosophical question. Rilke's words might be worth weighing against your answer: 'Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depth of your heart; confess to yourself you would have to die if you were forbidden to write.'
6. Should I invest in a writing course?
For a financial return? No. Because you think it might help you write? Yes.
7. Where do you get the ideas for your books?
8. Are your characters based on real people?
Most of the elements of a character can be found in the real world, but the particular configuration that makes them real can happen only on the page, and that only if you are lucky.
9. How much money do you make from writing?
That's what I'd like to know too. I gave up my day job when I was writing my third book. That was in 1996. What happened since?
10. Can a writer make a living from writing?
As a general rule, no. See Writers earnings survey at ALCS.
I would like to resuscitate Cyril Connoly's idea, proposed in 1938.
'I should like to see the custom introduced of readers who are pleased with a book sending the author some small cash token: anything between half-a-crown and a hundred pounds ... Not more than a hundred pounds — that would be bad for my character — not less than half-a-crown — that would do no good to yours.'
Cyril Connolly from Enemies of Promise
If you like the idea, go to Donations.
11. How do you choose an agent?
A bit like how you might choose a marriage partner. Luck is best. An arranged marriage has advantages. Love at first sight too. You could try blind dates, parties, interested/interesting strangers. Find compatibility, make an approach. Remember, they are looking for you too ...
12. How do you find a publisher?
Best leave it to the agent you found to do the arranged marriage business.
Don't try jumping out of a cake delivered to an editor, as one unsuccessful writer did.
Don't try to be more interesting than your book. The book is what will be published, not you. Unless of course you take the celeb route and become a national figure, a politician, an actor or a criminal (big time).
Networking apparently can get you to the first stage, but I think it is better to put your energy into the writing first.
13. Where do your write?
Wherever I am: a chair, a bed, a bath. I like trains and planes. Cars, except now that is apparently illegal. Hotels are good. Home is good. Palatial residences of angels are good.
14. What do your write with?
Now, first draft on a laptop. Subsequent drafts on laptop or desktop or tablet or phone or anything. Edits in pencil on paper. But now I am rethinking. I have no more room to keep old manuscripts. Chuck it all away?
Are you married?
Do you have children?
Do you have parents?
What's with the hair?
I was born bald.
Which of your characters resembles you most?
I can't tell.
What is your favourite book/film/song?
I am fickle with my favourites. Have a look at some of the interviews at Links.
Do your children read your books?
I used to think they wrote them, because when they were young I couldn't understand when I would have had the time to write them.