Catriona McPherson

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Catriona McPherson

Catriona McPherson was born in South Queensferry, just outside Edinburgh, and educated at Edinburgh University, leaving with a PhD in linguistics.

After a short and unsuccessful bout of lecturing in Leeds, she took up fiction writing instead and has so far published 23 novels. In 2010 she moved to northern California where she lives on 20 scruffy acres with a black cat and a scientist.

Interviewed 08 December 2018

Ten words to sum up your working life to date ...

Unhappiest academic ever, transformed into sickeningly chipper writer of fiction.

Nine things you can see from where you're sitting ...

1. Shelf of my own books. Still a thrill.
2. Framed sheet of Harvey Milk stamps. (I put them in the frame, noticed they weren’t straight, decided he wouldn’t mind).
3. Knitted Tunnock’s teacake.
4. Fly swatter.
5. Flies, though.
6. Pile of books I read when I was young. They made me a writer and I’m counting the pile as one. Pride & Prej, Catch-22, I Capture The Castle, The Water-Method Man & Gone With The Wind.
7. Framed prints of the Northern Paper Mills toilet paper babies. Google them and reflect that my clown pictures are even creepier.
8. That one last carrier bag of papers I can never classify as needing to be shredded or okay to hoy into the wheeliebin whole.
9. Ha! I was stuck but my cat just appeared. So: a black cat who thinks it’s dinnertime.

Eight minutes to prepare a meal. What's it going to be ?

Guacamole. Five avocados (they come in bags of five from the fruit stand), a juiced lime, two grated garlic cloves, chopped cherry tomatoes, salt, pepper and chilli flakes. And waxy cos lettuce leaves to scoop it up. If the cos is clothy instead of waxy, I’d use tostadas.

Seven people you'd like to go for a drink with ...

Sue Grafton and Victoria Wood from beyond the grave. Also Sandi Toksvig and Trevor Noah to ask them stuff and for laughs. I’m tempted to say Trump, in hopes that the others could get him to see reality. Nah, scratch that. Stephen King and both Obamas for sheer giddy fangirldom.

Six things you can't live without ...

1. Reading books.
2. Writing books.
3. Coffee. I go to sleep at night already looking forward to the next morning’s first cup.
4. Coronation Street. Favourite recent gem: “I’m no snob. [pause] I’ve been to Nando’s.”
5. Beaches.
6. Gardening.

Five favourite words ...

Oak, effluvia, bahooky, limpid, qualm. (This was the easiest question).

Four places you'd run away to ...

Any beach in Galloway.
A high-floor room with a Central Park view in Manhattan.
Savannah, Georgia.

Three books you've bought recently ...

With my birthday money, four days ago:
I am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L Sanchez
Flowers in The Attic by VC Andrews
Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver

Two things that make you rant ...

Big or small? I’ll do one of each. That snugly curled and interlocking system of dishonesty, self-regard and cowardice that quenches kindness. And people who leave their trolleys rolling about the carpark at Tesco. I don’t think these two things are unrelated. I’m not kidding.

One thing you'd tell your teenage self ...

Dump him.