The Penguin Q&A: Giovanna Fletcher

The Billy and Me author admits to making up backstories for strangers – and trying to move pencils with the power of her mind

Giovanni Fletcher
'I love people watching and making backstories for those I come across' – Giovanna Fletcher

What is your earliest reading memory?

I can remember I always had a book in my hand. When my family were gathered around the TV watching soaps, I'd be sat reading – even if I wasn't allowed to put a lamp on and had to make do with the glare from the TV screen instead. I really fancied myself as a little Matilda – although I never did manage to make a pencil roll across my desk, no matter how long and hard I stared at it. 

What are your inspirations?

Life is my main inspiration and I think that's linked with my acting background. I love people watching and making backstories for those I come across. It's a fun hobby.

Not many people know this, but I’m very good at…

Sleeping. I can sleep wherever, whenever – and I was like that before I became a mum. I've been known to fall asleep in the wings of a theatre (I had a break before my next appearance on stage), in rehearsal rooms, on the toilet – and even under a desk in a library... Naughty me!

What’s the most useful piece of advice about writing you’ve been given?

Just write. That piece was given by Dorothy Koomson and I certainly used that at the start of my writing career. Jill Mansell also once told me that there's a period during a writing process where you question everything you've put on the page and think it's all rubbish... It's just a wave you've got to ride and get over. Somehow it all comes together in the end (without you deleting every single word).

And finally, what’s the question (and answer to the question) no one has ever asked you but you wish they would? 

Q: 'Would you like to have the day off and go back to bed?'
A: 'Why, yes! Thank you. That would be super!'

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