The law don't like jazz clubs. No one wants anything to do with that kind of trouble.
I always thought that bagels and lox was my soul food, but it turns out it's sushi.
I had never really understood what an adventure life could be, if you followed your heart and did what you really wanted to do, which is what we must all do in the end.
For me, writing stories set, well, wherever they're best set, is a form of cultural curiosity that is uniquely Scottish - we're famous for travelling in search of adventure.
I find it inspiring to actively choose which traditions to celebrate and also come up with new ideas for traditions of my own.
It is through our extended family that we first learn to compromise and come to an understanding that even if we don't always agree about things we can still love and look out for each other.
Without archives many stories of real people would be lost, and along with those stories, vital clues that allow us to reflect and interpret our lives today.
I jealously guard my research time and I love fully immersing myself in those dusty old books and papers. It's one of the most enjoyable parts of my job.
Research material can turn up anywhere - in a dusty old letter in an archive, a journal or some old photographs you find in a charity shop.
I've found myself moved by letters and diaries in archives as well as trashy, summer blockbusters. It's possible to make a connection with any kind of writing - as long as the writing is good.
There is something particularly fascinating about seeing places you know in a piece of art - be that in a film, or a photograph or painting.
I care about a lot of issues. I care about libraries, I care about healthcare, I care about homelessness and unemployment. I care about net neutrality and the steady erosion of our liberties both online and off. I care about the rich/poor divide and the rise of corporate business.
I had loved poetry and the theatre. Now I loved adventure more.
Like most little girls, I found the lure of grown-up accessories astonishing - lipstick, perfume, hats and gloves. When I write female characters in my historical novels, getting these details right is vital.
I'm a library user and I just don't hoard books. To me, they're for sharing.
For a novelist, the gaps in a story are as intriguing as material that still exists.
History is full of blank spaces, but good stories, invariably, are not.
I didn't expect to love being online as much as I do. I've met some wonderful people and discovered that however arcane some of my interests that there are people out there who are interested too.
Today women have the rights and equality our Victorian sisters could only dream of, and with those privileges comes the responsibility of standing up and being counted.
I believe the era of the militant lady is back.
People make interesting assumptions about the profession. The writer is a mysterious figure, wandering lonely as a cloud, fired by inspiration, or perhaps a cocktail or two.
The new contract between writers and readers is one I'm prepared to sign up to. I've met some fascinating people at events and online. Down with the isolation of writers I say! And long live Twitter.
The net has provided a level playing field for criticism and comment - anyone and everyone is entitled to their opinion - and that is one of its greatest strengths.
Copywriters, journalists, mainstream authors, ghostwriters, bloggers and advertising creatives have as much right to think of themselves as good writers as academics, poets, or literary novelists.
Everyone assumes writers spend their time lounging around, writing and occasionally striking a pose whilst having a think.
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