Rutherfurd on Rutherfurd


First Novel

Q. And this was when you started to think seriously about writing.

A. My poor parents. They were waiting for their son to give some sign that he was going to earn a living. But no such luck. Recently my mother showed me some of the letters I'd sent home from University. Letters which cheerfully said things like: "You'll be glad to know I'm planning to write a book," or "As soon as I publish my first novel..." As she gently put it: "We were a bit concerned for you."

Q. Did they express that concern?

A. My father did suggest it might be a good idea to make a living first. But he also said: "If you consider journalism, you could try to be like Alistair Cooke." As a family we always listened to his Letter from America. He and Alan Wicker are still the two broadcasters I most admire: pure, elegant professionals. The other thing my father said was: "Since you like history, you should look at Michener's work. His research is magnificent." My father had greatly admired The Source. Pretty good advice, in retrospect.

Q. And in fact, after completing your degree at Cambridge, you commenced a historical novel, set in the later Roman Empire. Was it inspired by Michener?

A. By a wonderful book, Julian, by Gore Vidal, which I'd read before Cambridge. I worked at it for some months, and discovered how difficult it is to write a book. I wasn't ready for it yet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did You Know?
Lost Island. About 1,000 feet south of the Rockaway shores, off the coast of Queens in New York City, a one mile long island which I make mention of in NEW YORK – called Hog Island - had by the late nineteenth century became a favourite getaway “back room business” gathering spot for some of the city’s most powerful Tamany Hall politicians, and even attracted beach resort businesses and developers. But following the infamous Hurricane of 1893, which made landfall in New York City in August of that year, the island all but disappeared under the sea, and was lost entirely by 1902. Almost a century later, following two particularly devastating storms, hundreds of artifacts from the late nineteenth century washed up on the shores of southern Long Island, believed to have come from Hog Island.




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