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William Shaw Interview

William Shaw talks to Paragraph Planet about his latest novel

Tell me about your novel 'A House of Knives'

It's midway through a trilogy of crime novels set in 1968-9 that follows the arc of two characters, Detective Sergeant Cathal Breen and Helen Tozer. The books are set at a time when the cultural world is changing rapidly. I've had a lot of fun with my two characters. At 33, Breen is a middle aged man set in a job for life - as men were in those days. Helen comes from a different world, but she too has her own problems as a woman of the 60s. This was a time in which the pill was available in Britain but feminism hadn't yet arrived. And she is also the troubled sister of a murder victim, which becomes the backbone for the third book, out this summer, A Book of Scars.

What's your favourite part of the writing process?

I love it when stuff appears on the page, and you had no idea how it got there.

You've also worked as a journalist, and written non-fiction books. How does writing fiction differ?

I always wrote non-fiction with fiction as a road map. What makes fiction easier is you can make stuff up. What makes it harder is that you HAVE to make stuff up all the time.

How important is an online presence to a writer?

Well, it certainly helps. Though a writer friend who is way more successful than me has never tweeted, Facebooked or even had a website relatively recently.

Any tips for aspiring writers?

Finish. Get to the end, at any price. You're telling a story. It must have a beginning and an end. Once you've finished, then you can make it better.

Visit William's website here!.

Paragraph Planet is a creative writing website which has been publishing one 75-word paragraph every day since November 2008. Famous authors, aspiring writers and occasional dabblers have all got involved, submitting a mixture of twist-in-the-tale flash fiction, evocative short, short fiction, openings of published novels or brief moments captured. Get involved here. You can read over 2000 examples in the archive section. There are also interviews with some of the published authors who have submitted to the site, as well as an authors page in which you can read an example paragraph from all authors who've submitted, and also link to dedicated pages with more info about regular contributors. There's also a Blog Directory of authors who've contributed to the site.

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