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A quick-fire Q&A with Chris Cleave

Chris Cleave’s debut novel Incendiary was a prize-winner and international bestseller and his second novel, The Other Hand, was a global phenomenon. But his new novel Everyone Brave is Forgiven may just be his best yet. We caught up with Chris for a Quick-fire Q&A…

1. If I had to go back in time and choose another career… I’d be a psychologist. I like people. I think a novelist is just a psychologist who has a whole society in the consulting room rather than an individual client. You’re basically just saying “Come on in, I’ll do you all at once!”
2. My dream holiday destination… is Florence. I want to see all the paintings. We went last week but I cleverly got appendicitis on the first day & I spent the whole holiday on a surgical ward. On the bright side, the Italian doctors & nurses were the funniest & kindest people one could ever meet.
3. If I were to be stranded on a desert island, my one luxury item would be… my family. Oh, but that means they’d be stranded too. Hmm – I might need to rethink this.
4. My most memorable meal… is a lasagne that our 6-yr-old brought home from a school cookery lesson. It was entirely made of salt and sheet steel, in alternate layers, and we had to eat it all up and swear that it was mmmmm delicious.
5. My choice of superpower… would be the ability to bang out any tune folks could name, on any old upright piano, while wearing a pork pie hat and a tie with the thin end out.
6. If I had to choose between appearing on Strictly Come Dancing or X Factor I would change my name, put on a false moustache & flee the country on a fake passport.
7. The person I call when I need cheering up… is my wife Clémence. She is the most positive person I’ve ever met.
8. If I could go back to any time in history… I would go to 1948. So much was going on all at once – the NHS being formed, feminism going up a gear, the Windrush arriving, the Berlin airlift. And the music!
9. The sportsperson I find most inspiring… is Ellen MacArthur. She decided to be one of the greatest ocean racers ever to live, and she did it, all on her own, and she literally started by saving up her pocket money.
10. The best thing about being a writer… is readers. When I write I just want to give you a place to escape completely, where you can be yourself for a while and emerge feeling strong and well.


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