A slight detour from my regular posts on fashion, design and film, today I give you an interview with Elanor Dymott author of the suspense novel Every Contact Leaves a Trace. Elanor wrote the book at the Library and also features the building and its surroundings in some very crucial parts of the story.
Dickens Did It First: Writing and the Law
Moving from the law to fiction via law reporting for ICLR
“I once met a woman at a wedding, who unwittingly changed my life. At the time I was an unhappy lawyer who wanted to write fiction. I spent my days and nights assisting bankers and company directors and the owners of fleets of ships, aircraft or insurance conglomerates, to make vast amounts of money, then avoid getting sued for the way they’d made it…”
The Club: Bookish Britain
An authors’ guide to Britain’s most inspiring spots
The National Theatre, South Bank
“I spent much of my childhood overseas. The National Theatre on London’s South Bank was somewhere my family touched down on every UK visit. Now I’m an author, it’s the perfect place to write…”
BIG ISSUE NORTH: Author Q&A
By Antonia Charlesworth
Were you familiar with seafaring before writing Slack-Tide and why is the metaphor a good one for telling the story of the love affair between your two central characters?
I’m happier in the sea than on dry land, but I’m a swimmer not a sailor. Newborn, I took my first sea swim at Carthage. Before I was two, my family came to the UK via West Africa, and settled briefly on the Cornish coast. My childhood reading was shot through with novels about long sea voyages, and I’ve spent much of my life at one shoreline or another. I’m told the Dymotts were Dorset seafarers once…
I read The Ghost Rider and loved being properly frightened
The Ghost Rider by Ismail Kadare
A brother rises from his grave to keep his promise of bringing his sister home from a far-off land. Or does he? In retelling this ancient Albanian legend, Kadare examines that universally shared aspect of grief whereby we long to see our dead again. Exploring what happens when fantasy becomes reality, he weaves in other stories without once letting up his narrative drive. I read it at night and loved being properly frightened.
Book of a Lifetime: Slaughterhouse 5, By Kurt Vonnegut
According to Ford Madox Ford, a novelist wishing to “get a man in” must capture the gradual making of an acquaintance which happens in real life: a strong impression at the outset, followed by a working backwards and forwards over his past. A first meeting with a gentleman in one’s golf club, Ford notes, is the start of a process which cannot accurately be reflected by working a life chronologically.
For years, I had a jumbled and imprecise awareness of the author of Slaughterhouse 5. My golf club meeting with Vonnegut (pictured) came in the form of a newspaper article. By graphs mapped onto a horizontal “Beginning/ Entropy” axis and a vertical “Good Fortune/ Ill Fortune” one, he demonstrated classic storylines. Hamlet, he said, when mapped in such a way, is no apparent masterpiece. What makes it recognisable as one, he explained, is the fact that its author tells us the truth.
In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.
Previous contributors include Bret Easton Ellis, Kate Christensen, Kevin Brockmeier, George Pelecanos, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Myla Goldberg, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.
In her own words, here is Elanor Dymott’s Book Notes music playlist for her novel, Every Contact Leaves A Trace:
This is a novel about the damage that’s done when cherished people or cherished possessions are lost or taken away. It’s about our desire for their return; the spaces that are left behind; and it’s about grief and how we feel it. I built up this playlist over the time I was writing my book and I’d always write with it on. It falls into two groups and I’ve taken a few tracks from each.
Writing a novel at the British Library
British Library website
The truth, the whole truth or a version of the truth…
Jon Snow & Elanor Dymott, with Paul Magrath, discuss ‘The truth…’ as part of ‘Encounters’, a series of discussions hosted by the Incorporated Council of Law Reporting for England and Wales and filmed at The Old Court Room, Lincoln’s Inn, London.
Click on the image to watch the video.
Conversation with Kari Moran
Kari Moran’s Book Radio Show
Blackwell’s Bookshop, Oxford