To celebrate the release of her latest novel, The Mortal Word, we got author Genevieve Cogman to open up a little for readers. Here's what she's revealed...

Genevieve Cogman writes an exclusive piece for Female First

Genevieve Cogman writes an exclusive piece for Female First

1) I’m definitely a night owl rather than a morning person. I do a fair amount of my writing late in the evening – I have a break after getting back home from my day job, then get down to writing after supper.

2) I’ve never met a cake that I didn’t like.

3) My graduate studies were science-oriented – a BSc in Mathematics with Statistics, and an MSc in Statistics with Medical Applications. (Though I don’t use statistics much in my current job as a Classifications Specialist – working with the clinical classifications and terminologies that the NHS use to record medical data.)

4) The Invisible Library was actually my third completed original novel, but the first two didn’t get anywhere – and in retrospect, I don’t think they were as good. (Of course, when I was writing them, I was absolutely convinced they were brilliant.)

5) I enjoy doing patchwork, knitting, and beadwork, though my work in all three is fairly basic. It’s a very welcome morale boost when you’re spending months writing with no end in sight and with the constant nagging feeling that nobody loves you, everybody hates you, let’s go and eat worms, etc. (Authorial insecurity is pointless and self-limiting, but very hard to banish.)

6) My favourite drink is coffee – to the extent that I’ve been trying to cut down recently. Probably seven cups a day was a bit too much..

7) I live in Leeds. It’s a very friendly city, with a lot of convenient resources. About the only time I don’t like it is in the middle of winter, when the cold’s hitting...

8) When I was a child and going round to visit friends, I used to go through their bookcases and read their books rather than play with them. I wasn’t a very sociable child, I’m afraid.

9) My hair is very boring. It’s long and straight, but I lack the patience to do anything really dramatic with it, and it’s too heavy to wear loose without assuming the “haystack” style. I tend to just tie it back in a high tail and keep it out of the way. I use Lush shampoo and conditioner on it – I love Lush products.

10) I have no real advice for how to write a book except, “Read a lot, write a lot, repeat until you have a book”. Everyone has different methods for producing work and what works for some people doesn’t work for others. But I think that exposure to other people’s work, both good and bad, helps. And practice helps. And in the end there’s no substitute for getting words down on paper except actually doing it.

Genevieve Cogman's new book The Mortal Word is available now, published by Pan Macmillan.


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