Cover of Not the Life Imagined

Anne Pettigrew

What kind of an author are you?

One who wants to entertain: I’m too old to try to write ‘great literature!’ My aim was to write a book about what it was like to be a sixties medical student and give a ‘best account of the moral complexity of the day,’ as George Eliot felt a novelist should. Themes were discrimination, especially for women, and the damage a couple of rogue medics could wreak. I got to know my characters first and they took a life of their own; my methodology is ‘seat of pants’ rather than by ‘planned chapters,’ though I had an ending in mind.

Which authors are you inspired by?

Many! I’ve been reading avidly for over 60 years. At school, I loved John Verney (Friday’s Tunnel), smart sassy books ahead of their time. By my teens I admired the storytelling of H. Rider Haggard (King Solomon’s Mines, the original Indiana Jones), Taylor Caldwell’s rich historical dramas and an eclectic mix of Somerset Maugham, Irving Stone, Le Carre and Arthur Hailey. More recently, Katherine Neville and David Mitchell (experts in time-slipping), Stieg Larsson (my biggest influence) and Christopher Brookmyre (tartan noir) join Joanne Harris, Joanna Cannon, Andrea Camilleri, Peter May and Martin Walker as my favourite writers.

What keeps you motivated in the process of writing?

Getting to the end… Except I am never quite satisfied when I get there: there is always a better way to say everything.

What do you do when you are not writing?

Speak to my long-suffering husband, read, walk on beaches, do lunch, drink wine, paint landscapes and grow stuff in my garden. I also love sailing ships and travel, the more exotic the better.                                                                                                             

Any new projects on the horizon?

Not the Deaths Imagined is a sequel in which Beth imperils her family while uncovering a murderous GP in a Glasgow suburb, aided (and hindered) by some of the main protagonists of Not the Life Imagined. One of the villains has a remarkable crisis of conscience which surprised even me!


Cover of Not the Life Imagined

Anne’s debut novel Not the Life Imagined can be purchased through our website and on Amazon.


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Twitter: @pettigrew_anne