Writers on Research


The research process is an often-invisible aspect of every novel you’ve ever read. It can inform narrative, dialogue, structure, rhythm, style, tone, voice, form, even the ways that authors break with convention and forge new paths. The Writers on Research interview series seeks to explore the research processes behind some of my favourite contemporary novels, novellas and short story collections, provided in the authors’ own words. Follow the links below to read full interviews.


INTERVIEW: Jonathan Taylor on illness, Oliver Sacks and Melissa (29/03/21)

INTERVIEW: Heidi James on DNA, trauma theory and The Sound Mirror (05/04/21)

INTERVIEW: Martin Goodman on musicality, research ethics and J SS Bach (12/04/21)

INTERVIEW: Anna Vaught on neurodiversity, Joycean poetics and Saving Lucia (26/04/21)

INTERVIEW: Alice Ash on hyperrealism, Debenhams and Paradise Block (03/05/21)

INTERVIEW: Carys Bray on optimism, climate fiction and When the Lights Go Out (10/02/21)

INTERVIEW: Graham Mort on voyeurism, the Blues and Like Fado (17/05/21)

INTERVIEW: Elizabeth Brooks on nightmares, stately homes and The Whispering House (24/05/21)

INTERVIEW: Wyl Menmuir on xerography, imagined cities and Fox Fires (31/05/21)

INTERVIEW: Emily Jeremiah on masks, ‘Finnishness’ and Blue Moments (07/06/21)

INTERVIEW: Kate Smith on carelessness, Kierkegaard and The Negligents (09/06/21)

INTERVIEW: Stephen Reynolds on family, memory and The Layers (11/06/21)

INTERVIEW: Sharon Duggal on home, Rohinton Mistry and Should We Fall Behind (14/06/21)

INTERVIEW: James Scudamore on repression, boarding school and English Monsters (16/06/21)

INTERVIEW: Steve Hollyman on masculinity, The Streets and LAIRIES (18/06/21)

INTERVIEW: Alexandros Plasatis on listening, exophony and Made By Sea and Wood, in DarknessĀ (21/06/21)

INTERVIEW: C.D. Rose on forgery, whimsy and The Blind Accordionist (28/06/21)

INTERVIEW: Ruth Padel on mythology, restoration and Daughters of the Labyrinth (05/07/21)

INTERVIEW: Benjamin Wood on structure, service stations and A Station on the Path to Somewhere Better (12/07/21)

INTERVIEW: Jenn Ashworth on inconsistent characters, what-ifs and Ghosted (19/07/21)

INTERVIEW: Susan Furber on American lit, #MeToo, and The Essence of an Hour (26/07/21)

INTERVIEW: Ruth Gilligan on beefburgers, sausage wars and The Butchers (02/08/21)

INTERVIEW: Iain Hood on heresy, Oscar Wilde and This Good Book (09/08/21)

INTERVIEW: Jonathan Walker on demons, Twin Peaks and The Angels of L19 (23/08/21)

INTERVIEW: David Hartley on animal mythologies, rabbitry and Fauna (15/09/21)

INTERVIEW: Claire Fuller on du Maurier, folk music and Unsettled Ground (28/09/21)

INTERVIEW: Linda Mannheim on film noir, Butterfly McQueen and This Way to Departures (04/10/21)

INTERVIEW: Hannah Stevens on missing persons, #spycops and In Their Absence (19/10/21)

INTERVIEW: Sammy Wright on mimesis, misery porn and Fit (25/10/21)

INTERVIEW: Gregory Norminton on world-building, Le Guin and The Ghost Who Bled (02/11/21)

INTERVIEW: Cynan Jones on dystopia, dragonflies and Stillicide (02/12/21)

INTERVIEW: Richard Smyth on complexity, erosion and The Woodcock (07/12/21)

INTERVIEW: Harry Gallon on rurality, landlords and Small Rivers (14/12/21)

INTERVIEW: Janet H Swinney on authenticity, orthography and The House with Two Letter-Boxes (12/01/22)

INTERVIEW: Helen Cullen on fictional islands, fictional Irelands and The Truth Must Dazzle Gradually (18/02/22)

INTERVIEW: Emma Timpany on ancient civilisations, floristry and Three Roads (13/06/22)

INTERVIEW: Will Burns on community, climate guilt and The Paper Lantern (27/06/22)

INTERVIEW: Naomi Booth on transformations, anxieties and Animals at Night (04/07/22)

INTERVIEW: Tristan Hughes on landscapes, ruins and Shattercone (11/07/22)

INTERVIEW: Melissa Harrison on nostalgia, responsibility and the future of the countryside (30/08/22)

INTERVIEW: David Gaffney on experience, the still image and The Country Pub (17/10/22)

INTERVIEW: Thomas McMullan on sex, shame and The Last Good Man (14/11/22)

INTERVIEW: Rose McDonagh on zoomorphism, the Highlands and The Dog Husband (28/11/22)

INTERVIEW: Isobel Wohl on modern America, narrative tense and Cold New Climate (05/12/22)

INTERVIEW: Toby Litt on Mahler, meditation and Patience (10/01/23)

INTERVIEW: Katie Oliver on butterflies, the Twitter takeover and I Wanted to be Close to You (31/01/23)

INTERVIEW: Douglas Bruton on Larkin, the subconscious and With or Without Angels (06/02/2023)

INTERVIEW: Alison Macleod on imagination, self-surveillance and Tenderness (20/02/23)

INTERVIEW: Charlie Hill on satire, rebellion and The State of Us (06/03/23)

INTERVIEW: Zoe Gilbert on risk, re-enchantment and Mischief Acts (13/03/23)

INTERVIEW: Jon McGregor on story cycles, show-don’t-tell and the Reservoir novels (20/09/23)

INTERVIEW: Sam Byers on social media, the apocalypse and Come Join Our Disease (02/10/23)

INTERVIEW: Victoria Richards on womanhood, the uncanny and Sylvia Plath Watches Us Sleep (09/10/23)

INTERVIEW: Joshua Jones on locality, The League of Gentlemen and Local Fires (08/01/24)

INTERVIEW: Tom Benn on representation, Beatrix Potter and Oxblood (29/04/24)


If you’re a publicist or author with something to share, by all means get in touch via the contact link on your left, or tweet me @joebedford_uk.

The Writers on Research interview series is made possible with National Lottery funding via Arts Council England.