British novelist Robert Goddard won the inaugural WHSmith Thumping Good Read Award in 1990 for Into the Blue. Since then he has written many bestsellers including the Wide World Trilogy which was very popular among our readers. His latest book is Panic Room.
You can see Robert at Slaughter in Southwold on 16 June.
1. Who were your literary influences as you were growing up?
I started with Robert Louis Stevenson and Arthur Conan Doyle before moving on to the likes of Wilkie Collins. I found the sheer plotting energy of such writers quite inspiring.
2. How did James ‘Max’ Maxted come about and what it is about his character that made you create the Wide World Trilogy?
Max is one of the more obviously heroic of my central characters. He’s very much his own man, willing to do whatever is necessary to achieve what he thinks is right. He was bracing company!
3. Your latest book is Panic Room. How would you describe it to someone reading this interview and thinking they would like to read it?
A panic room is a place of refuge a householder can retreat to in time of danger. It can only be locked from inside and then it can’t be opened from outside.
But what if, one fine day, you wake in your large, remote house to find the panic room locked? Who’s inside? Why are they there? What do they intend to do? What is the secret of the panic room? Read the book to find out.
4. Is there anything you can share about your latest ‘work in progress’?
I’d prefer not to say much about my next book, except that it’s new, it’s different, I’m having a lot of fun with it and if you enjoy my books you’ll certainly enjoy this one.
5. Contemporary authors have recently been rewriting classic titles in the Hogarth Shakespeare series. Given the time and inclination to do it, is there any classic book or play you would like to adapt in your own style?
I think I’d like to adapt The Merry Wives of Windsor as a comic murder mystery. Falstaff would make a great, if obviously incompetent, detective.
6. Do you have a message for your many readers in Suffolk Libraries?
Keep reading! As I’m sure you already know, books are an extraordinary and inexhaustible source of entertainment.
7. Can you tell us one thing that your readers may not know about you?
My first appearance in print wasn’t a novel but a hardware catalogue in which I modeled overalls and warehouse coats. You’ve got to start somewhere!
8. You are visiting Suffolk in June for the Slaughter in Southwold festival. Can you give us a small taster of what to expect?
I’ll be talking about how I became a writer, what it’s like to be a writer and, of course, my new novel, Panic Room.