GF – how do you feel the reception to the new book has been? How was it knowing the book would be coming out to a larger readership than the first?
EM – It was fine when I got to the point of publication, but when I was still finishing the book – I still had three and a half more years working on it after A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing was published – that was harder. I didn’t sell it for a long time because I knew it had already taken me six years at that point, and I didn’t know how long it was going to take to finish it. I didn’t want a deadline; I didn’t want anyone breathing down my neck, and so it was only the year before that I sold it.
GF – you’d already started it when Girl was published?
I’d been working on The Lesser Bohemians for six years by the time Girl came out.
GF – so was it difficult after all the praise that Girl received for being so new and original? Did you feel a pressure not to write something that would be perceived as being more of the same?
EM – Yes, definitely. I had a moment where I got the fear a bit, but it was difficult before Girl was published too. It was hard working on The Lesser Bohemians those six years before publication, not knowing if that would just go in the drawer like Girl had done. So I spent three years trying to keep the weight of the failure off it, and then three years trying to keep the weight of the success off it while I was trying to finish it. When I started it I hadn’t written for three years after finishing Girl. I had to decide whether I was a writer or not - even if that meant I couldn’t be published and would be a failed writer - if I was still a writer. And I decided I was, so I kept writing. And in a way that was the same as dealing with the success, thinking, I know what I’m doing, I’ve spent six years writing this book - all the reviews saying she can never write another book, they’re already wrong. I knew the only way to survive the pressure of that expectation was to write exactly how I wanted to write.