Hi Tessa, thank you so much for joining us. Can you tell us a little about your new book, Higher Ed and what inspired the novel?
The novel was inspired by teaching in higher education and by current issues of austerity and funding cuts in the public sector. I wanted to examine how in difficult financial times people cope and how these issues affect relationships. I also wanted to see if I could write a novel the way a filmmaker makes a film, by editing elements together that exist separately, outside of the ‘frame’ of one another. So I wrote each character’s story separately and then interwove them in the editing process.
How much planning did you do before beginning Higher Ed? What elements needed to be in place before you started?
I planned to write 4 different strands of the story and then weave them together. I added the fifth strand because it seemed like the right balance, the right number of voices. I saw the whole thing as a hand, with the five fingers contributing to the whole picture of how we work together.
Your book features five people who live in London. What challenges did you face writing from five peoples point of view?
I loved the challenge of writing from five points of view. In each one I had a special relationship with character and voice. The challenge was to make them sound distinct.by