Jigsaws & Novels

In the last few weeks I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time talking about the writing of Liar and making much use of jigsaws as a metaphor to describe said writing. Turns out that Margaret Drabble has also been thinking long and hard about jigsaw puzzles—longer and harder than me, truth be told—1 and has written a whole book on the subject: The Pattern In The Carpet, which I am now longing to read.

You all need to listen to this interview with Margaret Drabble about her personal history with jigsaws. Romana Koval is one of my favourite interviewers and the whole thing is utterly delightful from start to finish. Though Drabble does maintain that there are no similarities between jigsaws and novels. Thus she rather handily demolishes the whole premise of my presentation about the writing of Liar. Thank you very much, Dame Margaret.

She’s wrong about that, okay?

And if you’re in Philadelphia I will explain to you in detail why she is wrong on Thursday night:

Thursday, 29 October, 7:00 pm
Blue Marble
551 Carpenter Ln

Philadelphia, PA

Now go listen to the Dame being witty and (mostly) wise.

In other news the Austin Teen Book Festival was truly wondrous and I’ll explain to you in detail why at some point in the future when my brain is fully functional.

For those asking about all those posts I promised to write way back when:

    a) I have written the post responding to Sarah Rees Brennan’s wonderful post on people’s tendency to judge female characters more harshly,

    b) the rest of those posts are still brewing but they will appear here before too long,

    c) the Srivener and Liar post is getting closer to postability. Talking about writing Liar with Scrivener in the past few weeks has changed the shape of the post somewhat,

    d) It’s astonishing how hard it is to blog on tour what with the variable connectivity and the extreme fatigue,

    e) I’ll still take requests but may not fulfill them until tour is over.

Lovely to meet so many of you over the past few weeks. I look forward to meeting Philly and Chicago peeps and answering all your questions. Maybe I’ll finally get an audience who have all read Liar and thus be able to tell you the true ending. Fingers crossed!


  1. Though can truth be told when I’m discussing Liar? []


  1. Doret on #

    Justine, while in Philly you should wear a Yankee’s Jersey and baseball cap

  2. Judith Ridge on #

    Hi Justine, Like you, I am a regular listener to Romana Koval on The Book Show, but it has to be said she has a definite blind spot when it comes to children’s and YA books. She (almost) never interviews children’s/YA writers herself, and it’s been interesting to note that in her recent absence, Peter Mares has had two kids/YA feature interviews up front and centre on the show (Neal Porter on picture books and Leonie Norrington on her new YA novel).

    And then there’s the deplorable, dismissive comments about children’s writers that started in Koval’s interview with AS Byatt, which she continued in a later interview with PL Travers’ biographer. I blogged about this not so long ago:




  3. Jennifer Sheffield on #

    Hey, no fair offering dangerous advice when she’s already reporting extreme fatigue!

    (Though, honestly, Justine, we’ll welcome you regardless, if you win through the tough crowds on your way…)

  4. Justine on #

    Doret: I thought we were friends? Why are you trying to kill me?

    Judith: I’m trying to figure out why it doesn’t bother me. I think partly it’s because Koval’s passion comes through so clearly when she interviews that I wouldn’t want to listen to an interview where she wasn’t passionate. And, you know, so what if she has zero interest in kid’s lit or YA. That’s her loss, not ours. I have zero interest in reading cosy mysteries. People trying to force me to do so would not change my mind any time soon.

    Though unlike Koval I do not opine about that genre because I don’t like my ignorance to show. You’re right, the Byatt and Travis pieces were shockingly ignorant. Yay you for pointing it out.

    Jennifer: Doret is evil. Through and through.

    I’m relieved you at least have my well being at heart.

    So does the world series being on mean no one will show up to my appearance on Thursday night?

  5. Jennifer Sheffield on #

    It’s Game 2 (rather than, say, Game 5), in NY, and first pitch isn’t until about 8. I believe some people will in fact prioritize talking about your boots — sorry, books — over watching the first inning. (I even know people who are [shh!] Not Sports Fans.)

    I have high hopes!

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