Thursday, 21 October 2010

Interview with a guilty blogger

You have been neglecting debbiedoesbritain again. What is your excuse this time?

I have been very busy indulging in my new found fame. My book has hit the shelves last Tuesday, you see.

All the more reason to blog about your experiences, no?

Of course, my blog should have been the first medium to distribute the news. But I've got a proper website too now,, and I have been updating that one.

So what's it like to be a published author? Are you enjoying it?

I was interviewed by the Mare (the newspaper of Leiden University) last week. I spent an afternoon taking pictures of myself because I didn't have any suitable photos. They also printed an especially saucy fragment from my book with it. [see text box] It's weird. I know that, if I were back home, this would be huge but because I'm still in Cardiff, the only results I see are a couple of tweets and emails. It's probably more real for my mum. She said she couldn't sleep because of the explicit fragment they'd reprinted.

Isn't she proud?

I may hope she is! But I understand. I wouldn't like to read erotic stories either if she were the author. And she was worried about what my teachers would think of it.

Aren't you?

I was very nervous to learn what Matt Thorne and Fay Weldon thought of Shut Up and Eat!. But I know now that they think it's creative, original, fresh, truly disturbing and darkly comic. The same way I don't expect Matt and Fay to be swept off their feet by my dissertation on Walter Benjamin's translation theory, I don't expect my philosophy teachers to be impressed with Bek Dicht en Dooreten!. It's a novel, not a work of philosophy. And chick noir might not be their taste in literature.

What's the most important lesson you learned at Brunel?

Ouch, that's a difficult question. One of the most helpful tricks they taught me was to construct a plot and write an outline before you start the novel. But I think their lectures on publicity are also very useful now that my book is available. I'm still awaiting the first reviews, but I'm sure Celia Brayfield's advice on how to deal with nasty reviews will soon be on the very-important-lessons-list too.

Why are you interviewing yourself?

Because it makes me feel important.


  1. bahahhaha..loved the last soon as it is available in my home country India..which I hope it would be..or in U.S. I would buy the book for sure..
    Yay..emerging writer..
    wish you all the luck and success..
    take care.

  2. Hopefully your philosophy teachers will find their way past the giant Miffy to the back of the Leiden bookstore where they hide this kinky stuff called chick lit. This book is a multi faceted gem which keeps shining from unexpected angles long after you read it. Your surrealistic description of Laura’s comorbidity of an eating disorder and signs of a schizophrenic psychosis I find far more disturbing than any of the erotic passages. Each sentence mentioning alcohol, drugs, sex, blood, or violence seems to be there to make us an accomplice of Laura’s suffering from her eating disorder. Luckily humor triumphs as our only means of survival. I would have to read e.g. the classic “Jewish rites and symbols” by Simon Philip de Vries to become sensitive to the full force of the jewish dimension of your story. It’s a multi faceted gem with layers waiting to be peeled of. But I do know that I relate to Laura’s oversensitivity to human relations and her need to belong. Her inner diaspora. Perhaps you left out the most important fairytale: The Ugly Duckling. The classic struggle of every writer. Anyway, I think you just published a classic of your own.

  3. Congrats on the book. Hope it goes well.

  4. Wow Harald,that's a wicked review!
    Thanks Bleeding Healer & Madame DeFarge.

  5. Bek dicht en dooreten! should get adapted into a screenplay so Laura Mulvey and Gaylyn Studlar can debate the gaze of its spectators.