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Sion Scott-Wilson Interview

Posted on 16 July 2008. © Copyright 2004-2024 WriteWords
A longer version of this interview is available to WriteWords Full and Community Members.
Click here to learn more about becoming a member.

WriteWords talks to Sion Scott-Wilson about his debut novel

Tell us something about your background.

I work in advertising. I've created hundreds of TV, radio
commercials over the years, I've written a regular column for a trade
magazine and had some short stories published. My novel, The
Sleepwalker's Introduction to Flight will be published by Macmillan
New Writers in May, the paperback will be published by Pan.

Other work besides writing; ie. Editing, dramaturgy, tutoring, etc

I view the advertising process as solving some kind of gigantic 3D
cryptic crossword puzzle with a tiny pencil stub. Fiction writing is
not the same thing at all. Having said that, I think my profession
has trained me to be sparing with words. I tend not to use adverbs
muchly. I dislike overwriting - I like a point and I like a plot. But
at the end of the day, character is everything. If I care about the
character, I can care about his or her journey to the corner shop.
I come from quite a theatrical family.

I am amazed that you've used 'Dramaturgy' here. It's like Thamauturgy,
without the magic. I think most theatre is balls-achingly dull and
gets laughs for the weakest jokes, because the audience feels the
actor's pain. It's usually the writer's incompetence. Po-face and
Earnest are the horrible bastard step-children of Wit and Joy.

How did you start writing?

I've been writing since I was able to speak. I used to hold my
sisters and their friends enthralled with tales of the creatures who
lived under the toilet seat.

Who are your favourite writers and why?

John Kennedy Toole: Confederacy of Dunces. Ignatius O' Reilly. Most
gorgeous anti-hero ever created. There's a very respectful nod to him
in my own novel.

JP. Donleavy. I lived my life at university like the Ginger Man. My
21st Birthday was spent in the dock at Exeter Crown Court.
I was of course, acquitted.

How did you get your first agent/ commission/publication?

I sent my work to Macmillan.

What's the worst thing about writing?

Isolation and viruses. I hate viruses, I hate the people who create
them. I keep smashing keyboards. Now that I use a mac, I keep
smashing keyboards.

Tell us what kind of response you get from audiences/readers and

I've had some wonderful reviews. (and very touching letters) But then
Sleepwalkers doesn't fit into any genre, so it was always going to be
a slow-burn. Mostly, my reviews have focused on the life-affirming
nature of the novel.

What was your breakthrough moment?

David Mitchell snorting with laughter at an earlier novel. It meant a
great deal to me. It meant that I was able to keep going in at my own
thing which doesn't fit into a literary genre but does seem to fit a
reader profile.

A longer version of this interview is available to WriteWords Full and Community Members.
Click here to learn more about becoming a member.

Comments by other Members

Account Closed at 11:55 on 17 July 2008  Report this post
Great interview, very witty and informative.

This, I especially liked:

Read as much as you can Ė mostly my stuff, where possible.


Best of luck with the novel. Looking forward to grabbing a copy.


Anj at 15:49 on 17 July 2008  Report this post

Wow, so Mikey (please tell me that was his name??) made it into print while I was away! I' m so, so pleased, it' s richly deserved. And a great interview


scottwil at 05:38 on 18 July 2008  Report this post
Hi James, many thanks for reading and commenting. Glad you enjoyed - I really hope you like the book.

Hi Andrea - wonderful to see you back. Yes, it was Mikey and he now has his very own ISBNs. It' s been a great thrill and a real privilege.


Nik Perring at 15:39 on 18 July 2008  Report this post
Cool interview. All the best with the book.


optimist at 17:01 on 18 July 2008  Report this post
Great interview! I look forward to reading


ShayBoston at 19:01 on 21 July 2008  Report this post
Continued success, Sion. You know you've made it when you are granted a WW interview! Seriously, you are an inspiration to feckless writers like me.


RT104 at 09:29 on 22 July 2008  Report this post
What a great interview - very funny. Best of luck with the book.

Rosy x

Sidewinder at 20:32 on 22 July 2008  Report this post
Great interview, Sion! Good luck with the book.

scottwil at 04:50 on 24 July 2008  Report this post
Hi Nik, Sarah, Mark, Rosy and Clodagh,
Many thanks for all your kind comments, much appreciated.
Mark - thanks again, as always - and feckless? Nah.
Rosy and Clodagh, very best of luck with your forthcoming releases.


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