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Tim Lay

By Sarah Hutchings

Tim Lay

This interview with Tim Lay was first published on The Deckchair website on 14/10/2008.

Former Brighton & Hove resident Tim Lay won the 2007 Undiscovered Authors national prize. In addition to winning £10,000, Tim's winning entry 'The Sewerside Chronicles', was published.

How did you get your first break?
First break was being published in QueenSpark's short story anthology Alt-Future. Second break, was winning the Undiscovered Authors national prize with 'The Sewerside Chronicles'.

Could you describe your working day.
When I'm writing I like to treat it like a day job. Normally breakfast, coffee and smoke, then an eight hour day. 3000 words is a nice number to get down by the end of it. I find it hard to switch off so will often spend the rest of the night scribbling down ideas and bits of dialogue for what's coming next.

How does an idea become a novel?
Fairly slowly. You have a vague idea, but it takes time to mould it into something that won't fizzle out after three chapters. I tend to write sporadically short chunks to begin with - often from halfway through the novel - as I like to get a feel for the story before I write the first chapters. Months drift by with no inspiration and then suddenly, bam, bam, bam and there's another character or piece of action. Once the framework's solid enough, I can then start to write.

Which book do you wish you'd written?

As a reader, do you always finish a book you've started?
Almost always. I need to be interested after ten pages though in order to keep on going.

If you weren't a writer, what job would you like to have done?

Describe your perfect day.

What keeps you awake at night?
Too many thoughts.

Why did you choose to live in Brighton and Hove and will you ever come back here?
I'd lived in a small seaside town in Devon, I'd lived in New York, and Brighton was somewhere between the two. I remember visiting my sister here for the first time, walking out of the train station and knowing I was going to live here one day.  It's the only city in England that I would want to live.

How does the city inspire your work?
I wrote a novel that was fiction but hung all over the things going round me in Brighton at the time. Brighton has got so much going on without actually being that big and, because of that, there's this randomness that you just don't get anywhere else in England.  The place has got character and because it's so transient that character is always changing, so stays fresh.

For more info on 'The Sewerside Chronicles' click here.

This page was amended on 14/01/2012
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