1. I like safety and security but I hate it too. But maybe we all feel that. We do our deep breathing, practise yoga, create cosy domestic spaces, then blow it all apart watching frightening films, reading disturbing books, deciding to climb Everest. My short stories start in the ordinary day-to day world but slowly, surely move into extraordinary territory. A tired mother is given health pills that make her lust after each man she meets with alarming consequences. A high-achieving woman with an apparently ideal life decides to go a step further, and clone her husband without his knowledge. The author Jane Thynne wrote of the stories: Theyre uncanny, and quite unlike anything else youll read.

Sally Emerson, Perfect: Stories of the Impossible

Sally Emerson, Perfect: Stories of the Impossible

2. I prefer to write in longhand because the words seem to flow from some deeper, freer part of me, not belonging so much to the world of technology and the internet and computers.

3. The Norse Myths were my favourite bedtime reading as a child. No doubt my DNA will be found to have a Viking component because I found the Greek myths lacking in the dark anger and glory of the northern tales of Thor, Odin, Loki, Baldr the beautiful, up in Asgard, home of the gods in the sky.

4. As I get older, I feel my ancestors closer to me, people I know nothing about, but are part of me. Many countries worship ancestors; it seems entirely sensible. They have after all created you. We are not just the people we are today but all the people who have lived before us who have provided us with their genes. Nothing quite ends; it all connects, and this is a theme running through Perfect, Stories of the Impossible which for all its strangeness is I hope also uplifting.

5. The thought of my mother working in Hut 6 at Bletchley Park during the last war makes me very proud. Her work helping to decode messages helped to win the war. But she was secretive, after all she signed the official secrets act, and wouldnt talk about it. I am secretive too; perhaps it comes from her habit of subterfuge. For instance, I cant talk about a book until it is finished.

6. I love the uncanny, the way anything is possible once you dont have strictly to keep to everyday reality. My novel Fire Child is the closest to these short stories, centred on the diaries of the almost satanic anti-hero and anti-heroine. The Daily Mailwrote it demanded to be read in one gulp from its deadpan beginning to is demonic end…’

7. I have written diaries since I was thirteen and I dont know how I could have coped without them. I am so impressed by people who manage life without diaries. In my diaries all my past selves are with me, old dear friends, on my side, chatting and gossiping and emoting and complaining and rejoicing and reporting outrageous behaviour. I recommend keeping diaries to everyone, not just for the companionship whenever you need it, but to help remember and understand events, people and your own emotions. Why go to therapy when you could just buy a good quality lined notebook, and set forth, and then read it later and see your own flaws or good points clearly?

Perfect: Stories of the Impossible (£8.99) by Sally Emerson is published by Quadrant Books. 

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