In 5 minutes with author, Over60 asks book writers about their literary habits and preferences. Next in this series is Fiona McIntosh, a novelist and travel magazine co-founder based in South Australia. After years of working in the travel industry, McIntosh made a career switch and became a full-time author. Her latest book The Diamond Hunter is out now.
Over60 talked with McIntosh about the dictionary, revenge stories, and why she doesn’t believe in writer’s block.
Over60: What is the worst writing advice you’ve ever received?
Fiona McIntosh: The worst writing advice I actually watched being delivered to a classroom of adult writers was… ’so here are the rules’. There are no rules!
What book(s) are you reading right now?
Everything I can about the history of champagne, production of champagne during World War I in Epernay, as well as war books about the Marne region during WWI [for my next novel The Champagne Lovers].
On the go novels include A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles, Munich by Robert Harris plus a couple by Le Carré.
What book do you think more people should read?
The dictionary. It’s powerful stuff.
How have the places you’ve been to influenced your writing?
I spent 20 years in the travel industry travelling between the ages of 20 and 40 years. I have spent the last 20 years of my life travelling so that I can write books about the places I have seen. Yes, without any of those places of the past four decades I would not have the inspiration for my stories. It always begins with place for me.
What was the last book that made you laugh or cry?
Everything by Bill Bryson makes me laugh. And I think it’s much harder to win a laugh than a tear.
How do you deal with writer’s block?
By not believing in it. It has no power over me.
Which author, deceased or living, would you most like to have dinner with?
Sharon Penman. The way she brings the deep past back to life for me is inspirational.
Is there a cliché that you can’t help but love?
Revenge stories. Can’t beat them!