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'A real sense of jeopardy'

17 July 2023

‘I not only know the beginning, middle and end of the book, but I know the beginning, middle and end of each chapter...

I think it's important for my readers that there is a real sense of jeopardy for the characters. Sometimes when you read a particular genre, you get to know where things are going. But I feel it's really important that when readers meet the characters on the first page, they feel that "we can't take anything for granted here". Anything must feel possible, it's only when they get to the end of the book that they will know exactly where the story was going, and why...

Quite often I'll get emails and messages from people who have literally just that minute finished the book and are desperate to tell me how they feel about the emotions it has brought out in them. It is really lovely to have that immediacy.'

Mike Gayle, author of 17 books, including his first novel My Legendary Girlfriend, Wish You Were Here and just-published All the Lonely People, in the Bookseller