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'An idea that really excites me'

19 December 2005

'I don't begin a book until I have an idea that really excites me. I open my imagination and wait for it to come. Up till now, it always has. But I never get a new idea when I'm writing. During that time, my whole mind is engaged in that particular book. I live with my characters, and as I write they reveal themselves to me. I plot in great detail before I start. It's interesting, though, because however carefully I've planned, I never get exactly the book I thought I was going to write.'

P D James in the Sunday Times magazine