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As a novelist, where do you go to tap into memories, and impressions, and sensations? It’s usually, in my experience, your early life, before you started thinking of yourself as a writer, because somehow those experiences are unadulterated.

William Boyd

At a time when there’s younger writers starting up and it’s inevitable that you’re becoming less fashionable, at a time when the industrial pressures apply more and more to books, how do you keep a book you wrote 28 years ago selling well year on year? Because it really is getting harder.

William Boyd

Do we change every time we have a new encounter? Are we endlessly mutable? I think these are fascinating questions: it’s a rich vein to tap, and I don’t think I have exhausted it fully yet.

William Boyd

Even though I’ve been an avid consumer of contemporary music since my early teens, the world of rock music has always been at something of a distance – I listen to it, read about it, I talk about it, but I’ve had little or no contact with its denizens.

William Boyd

Film is a medium of clear lines and broad strikes – which can be fantastic – but compared to the subtleties and nuances of a novel, it doesn’t even get close.

William Boyd

Human beings are interested in the human condition.

William Boyd

I can bore for England on the subject of James Bond. But I knew I couldn’t do it frivolously; I had to take it very seriously, however much fun I was having. And I had to make myself, you know, absolutely steeped in Bond and in Fleming and that world.

William Boyd

I don’t think they’ll ever make a retro Bond.

William Boyd

I have always thought if you are going to make a film, it’s much better to have an original script that will play to film’s strengths.

William Boyd

I have this lock of hair that keeps falling across my forehead. It drives me mad.

William Boyd

I know many older writers who were very successful and whose books are now out of print, so you have to go to antiquarian booksellers to buy their fifth or eighth novel or whatever it is.

William Boyd

I let people off the hook too easily.

William Boyd

I tend to admire dead people more than the living. All too often, human reality diminishes the glowing reputation.

William Boyd

In some ways, you could argue, television is doing far more interesting work than the movies. It’s more fulfilling.

William Boyd

In the broad spectrum of the arts, two worlds rarely overlap – the literary world and the world of rock music.

William Boyd

It’s strange; when I was younger and people would ask, ‘Where are you from?’, I’d say, ‘West Africa’, which was odd because I’m obviously not African, but it was my home.

William Boyd

My novels are often about people who are in love or attracted to each other.

William Boyd

The last thing you know about yourself is your effect.

William Boyd

There is a disconnect between the film Bond and the literary Bond which is their contemporaneity. I don’t suffer from that.

William Boyd

There’s a sense in all my novels that nothing is certain.

William Boyd

To live as an artist requires hard work or some extraordinary good fortune to come your way.

William Boyd

What’s important to me is that all of my books are in print – and, in a way, that becomes the challenge, not winning this prize or getting that review. It’s that the work is there, and you can walk into many bookshops throughout the world and buy it.

William Boyd

When you experience bereavement at a youngish age, you suddenly realise that life is unjust and unfair, that bad things will happen, and you have to take that on board.

William Boyd

With film, you have very limited tools to convey subjectivity – voiceover, the camera’s point of view, good acting – but even the very best actor in the world is crude by comparison with what you can do in a written paragraph.

William Boyd

Eleanor Porter
Marquis De Custine
Seung Sahn
Sigrid Agren