|Zoe Fowler, |
interviewed at When Words Count Retreat
As a novice, the simple unconsidered answer would have been to say 'anyone'; but that is as arrogant as it is unlikely. My grandfather used to say, 'You can please some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time; but you can't please all of the people all of the time'. My book has no high-speed car chases, unsolved murders, explicit sex scenes, or lengthy factually accurate descriptions of war ships; therefore, I have lost the potential interest of at least half of my family members already. My mother will probably read my book, but that is most likely to be as a consequence of the name inscribed on the book's jacket!
Bowker report). But most books are published in hard and digital versions, and I would intend my book to be distributed via both media. The question is, to whom do I want my book to appeal?
Despite my best Google-sleuthing, I've struggled to find statistical evidence about what kinds of people read what kinds of books: the markets are fluid and subjective. So, when I consider who I want to read my book, perhaps I need to align myself with other books that people are already reading. This is an easier task than trying to pin down abstract readers through a collation of statistical reports.
I want my book to appeal to people who enjoy reading Kate Atkinson's joy of story-telling; Jeanette Winterson's experimentation with language; Margaret Atwood's enthusiasm for developing character; E.L. Doctorow's exploration of historical accuracy and magic realism. I want to build a world which is as credible to the reader as A.S. Byatt's The Children's Book and as compelling as Sarah Waters' Fingersmith.
With the exception of Winterson, each of these authors have written historical fiction, in the sense that their books take place within an accurately rendered historical context. I've set my ambitions high: I consider these books to be some of the best novels ever written. But ambition is no bad thing if it will encourage me to strive to be the best writer that I can be and, even if I don't achieve the heights attained by these novelists, perhaps their readers will also find moments of pleasure, intrigue and entertainment in the company of my book.
So, in answer to the question of who I want to read my books, I want the readers of the other books listed here.