Before I started to write fiction I had a short career writing stories for the Toronto Star. I’m glad I got out of it– when you’re writing newspaper stories there’s an expectation that you tell the truth and not be poetic or embellish, and you certainly can’t start thinking about how things could have been and putting that down on the page. That’s not your job.

By the end of my time there I didn’t get along with my editor. He thought working overseas had made me a bad reporter for domestic affairs. He might have been right but the thing to do would have been to fire me. In the end I fired myself and started to work on In Our Time.

Despite the unhappy ending my work in Toronto and my earlier job before the war with the Kansas City Star took me all over the place and exposed me to new places and people that I could later put into my prose. People are still after me to do this kind of work now that I’ve written some good books and if there’s ever a happening that appeals to me I might just take them up on their offers.