The fact that it wasn’t just the teenage mum of urban legend—that there was a boy there as well—kind of took me by surprise. Does it start with a situation that takes hold of your imagination? I think that all my books have started with a situation, some kind of fragment of narrative.Sometimes I can sense that there’s something to it that might develop into something more, and other times it’s just what it is and there’s nothing you can do with it. Did you treat him differently as a narrator because he was an adolescent?
At the end of our interview, he asked where I was from, and when I replied that I was from Boston, he immediately intuited my conflict.
He knew the Sox were playing that night, and he quickly and generously gave me a dispensation. On this tour I’ve been dealing with the people who run the young-adult sections of bookstores and libraries, and they have their own particular favorites. In this same That’s a complicated question with a complicated answer.
Though he no longer writes about sports, Hornby is still an avid fan, and it somehow seemed fitting that we conducted this interview on the first night of this year’s World Series.
We were both in Seattle: he was in town from his home in North London to give a reading that evening at the Seattle Public Library.
Yeah, but it tends not to move very quickly in a lot of these books.
book that’s in a bookstore should entertain in some way.I had planned to speak with him by telephone and then to attend the reading.But as a Red Sox fan, I was conflicted about having to forgo game one of the series.All the people I discovered around the same time during the ’80s—Carver, Ford, Tobias Wolff, Lorrie Moore, Anne Tyler—they had a strong voice, and quite often a demotic voice as well.There wasn’t that kind of clipped, English, third-person prose bit going on.Did you find it difficult not to want to make your teenage character “do the right thing” under harsh circumstances because you knew that adolescents were going to be reading it? If a kid read and decided that he didn’t particularly want a baby at age 16, I wouldn’t think that was a bad thing, but that wasn’t the intention of writing the book.Like I’m sucking up to them—Or that there should be a lesson or a moral. In all the books, I’m looking for situations where ordinary people living relatively ordinary lives get bent out of shape by something quite momentous.Obviously, there were a couple of exceptions in England, but most of the time I didn’t want to read a lot of that stuff.It grew out of seeing a teen couple who were parents near where I live. Is this how you typically start on a larger narrative?The poster responds with quotations from, the Tony Hawk autobiography that Sam has read 40 or 50 times and has largely memorized.In the past, Hawk’s responses have been helpful (if not always entirely on topic), but when Sam finds out that his ex-girlfriend is pregnant, Hawk’s advice doesn’t seem to help quite as much as Sam wishes it would.