A novel must tell a story that engages you, keeps you reading and leaves you thoughtful.

To tell a story, all you need is a hook and a thread. But novels can be so much more.

A novel is like a dating site. Readers are looking for someone to love, for a character they can engage with, someone they can live alongside. With a hook, a thread and such a character you can truly engage readers.

Love is not always the strongest emotion. A novel is a kind of threesome: at its best it is an intense engagement between the reader, someone they love and someone they hate.

A novel is also an adventure holiday. Novels take you into other countries, other lives, other worlds. Novels give you experiences you haven’t quite had.

Every novel is a lie. Great novels are lies that tell you the truth: the truth about your world and about what it means to be human.

If you try to write novels with these ingredients each book you conceive will be different. That isn’t easy for readers. You will disappoint.

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