Gabriel Tallent was working full-time in a restaurant, whilst doing some pretty serious mountain climbing on the side, when he felt the compulsion to tell this story. He would lie on his floor, as soon as he got home from work, fill himself with coffee and try to write 30,000 words a week.
'My Absolute Darling' started off as something else, what he describes as a 'brainy, environmental novel', until he realised that the peripheral Turtle Alveston needed to be the protagonist. It needed to be her story, about the abuse she was subject to by her father. When Gabriel had that realisation, he immediately stopped writing, believing this was a tale too big for him to tell.
The novel is a Sunday Times Bestseller, it made The Times and Metro's 'Books of the 2017', he made the shortlist for Swansea University's 'International Dylan Thomas Prize', and Stephen King described it as 'masterpiece' and a work that will 'stand the test of time'.
It's quite a deep, philosophical chat about why we tell stories, and the right to get down your idea. Also Gabriel chats about making his characters utterly believable, what he thinks about critical reaction to his book, and how much he thought about the story's language.
Also, we get a top writing tip from a debut author who wants you to pay more attention to the world around you.