I have a confession: I listen to podcasts. Actually, I love podcasts.
When I was a kid, we had no television in our house. Makes me sound as though I’m from the forties, but hey, no – this was the eighties! My brother and I raided the televisions of friends and relations. And we listened to the radio. A lot.
We had our favourite radio shows – Just a Minute (and yes, folks, this is still playing in the UK) and a narration of the entire Sherlock Holmes books. Perhaps that is why I enjoy podcasts just so much – they bring back the memories of sitting around the radio, just listening.
That’s enough reminiscing.
One of the main reasons I listen to podcasts is to follow famous authors; to see what drives them, how they write and why they write. Here’s the three best interviews I’ve found.
The 3 best interviews (so far).
Frederick Forsyth. (The Guardian Books Podcast, 23 Jan 2016) Remember The Day of The Jackel? Forsyth, a fluent speaker of French and German, was a reporter in Paris in the 60s. In those days the French reporters socialised with the President’s security detail (hey, this is France, and a different era). Forsyth, being a french-speaker, hung out with them. Seems like de Gaulle’s security team weren’t as close-mouthed as they could have been, because Forsyth pieced together a plot that might conceivably work. Later, when flat broke, he wrote this idea up as The Day of the Jackel. Listen to the interview. It’s amazing.
Marian Keyes. (BBC World Book Club, May 2015) Have you read Rachel’s Holiday, a bittersweet story of recovery from addiction? Turns out Keyes went through a similar experience to her heroine and drew upon this experience when writing the book. In this lovely interview Keyes discusses addiction, why she likes happy endings and what you need to do to be a writer.
Paulo Coelho. (Four Hour Work Week, 23 April 2016). Writer of The Alchemist, Coelho lives in Brazil. This is more a running commentary on the art of writing than an interview, but to a writer it’s absolutely fascinating. Coelho doesn’t write in a notebook. “Just live your life, and when you come to write, whatever is important will remain. What isn’t just falls away.” I found this interview incredibly liberating. “A book,” says Coelho, “is a connection between the writer and the world. It must be written with love.” (I think I’ve got that right. You’ll have to listen to the interview to be sure!)
The Benefits of Audio
It’s hard to find audio interviews with great writers. There are a few in newspapers and magazines, but but I find that somehow print dilutes the message – radio (and its modern child, the podcast) feels more personal, more immediate and fun. If you’re keen on reading, or you want to write, I do suggest you check these interviews out.
What podcasts have you listened to? What would you recommend?