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She enjoyed the idea of taking an effect to its extreme 15.11.2022

She enjoyed the idea of taking an effect to its extreme

Her story titled Accelerate features a guy who becomes addicted to coffee (which Naomi first drank when she started working at Mr B’s) as it streamlines his efficiency.

Naomi regards office life as a privileged existence although she never wanted it for herself. Friends who are, for example, lawyers are expected to work so many hours.

A long queue formed and I overheard her proud dad, there in support, saying he too had purchased copies for Naomi to sign

Mr B observed that many routes put young people on a conveyor belt to an office job resulting in many ending up there when it doesn’t suit them.

The answer was yes as she uses their sheltered world, the wonder of possibilities that haven’t yet turned cynical. Children’s lives are more protected and still in flux. She regards two of the boys she created – Alfie and Jamie – similar in many ways despite their very different circumstances.

Many from the audience were to be seen admiring the recently expanded bookshop which has become quite a labyrinth – it is gorgeous

Mr B suggested they talk about books. Naomi and he agreed there should be book trolleys on trains and that an idea the bookshop once had – to offer recommendations to customers who sent photographs to Mr B’s of books for sale at airports – had potential. If she were still a bookseller, what books would she now recommend to customers?

Naomi didn’t recall talking to her parents about this. She learnt about getting an agent and so on while doing her Masters at UEA. Having said that, she told us it is all a bit surprising. Skype interviews, talking at events, it can all seem a bit odd at times. In any other social interaction she wouldn’t constantly be talking in this way about herself and her work.

Naomi’s boyfriend kicked off, mentioning that she didn’t talk about her story, Bear, and asking how she inhabited the head of a middle aged man.

Naomi explained that writing is empathy and it happens naturally – a voice enters her head. It is a way to live lots of lives. She joked that the man could be based on her university supervisor.

Question: Which authors inhabited your head growing up? (ed. during this long list my pen ran out of ink – gah – but I include as many here as I could write down when I grabbed a replacement)

Doctor Who, Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, Angela Carter, Gormenghast, Patrick de Witt, loads of science fiction and fantasy, geeky voices.

Definitely a part. It is nice to express different sides of my self. I can manifest in many different ways – thinking, what if I was this – and write.

Amanda Palmer has talked about an art blender. She says that her husband, Neil Gaiman, has his on a high setting. So yes, all things I’m thinking about are mixed in an art blender.

This came from a tweet he posted while reading Escape Routes that Naomi’s publisher subsequently asked if they could use. It felt amazing. A huge moment to have someone admired so much read her work and say they enjoyed it.

Naomi explained it was created by her publisher’s in-house artist. She open the book to show both the front and back cover and revealed a bird – perfect for the themes explored, including flight, in the stories.

And with that Mr B raised his glass in congratulation and invited the audience to join Naomi in the bookshop’s Imaginarium where she would be happy to sign copies of her book.

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