Kerry Hudson, author of the award-winning and wonderfully titled Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice-cream Float Before He Stole My Ma, talks to Vintage about writing her second novel, Thirst. Plus, she reveals which books were responsible for getting her excited about reading in the first place…

Can you describe your new novel, Thirst?

Set between Hackney and Siberia, Thirst is the love story of Dave, a South London council-estate lad, and Alena a troubled beauty from Siberia. They both have secrets, they both have dark pasts – the question is whether or not they can overcome those things to have a life together. 

You once said you’d never considered writing as a possible career saying it was as likely to happen as going on a rocket to Mars.

Now that you’ve achieved your dream, does it live up to expectation?

I think just having the freedom to write whatever you choose without fear of recrimination is a privilege many don’t have so I’ll never grumble about the writing life. But actually, especially in the few years when I’ve travelled a lot and had some incredible and very unique experiences, it absolutely does live up to expectations. Basically though, if I’m writing good stories I’ll be a happy woman.

ThirstWhat interests you most about writing?

I think mostly I am just incredibly curious about everything. Much of my work has started with me trying to understand the world around me and my interaction with it. I’m fascinated by people, how we treat each other, how all these different circumstances and stories somehow slot together. As long as there is a city street to walk down I’m never going to be short of novel ideas.

If you could interview another author (living or dead) who would it be and why?

Muriel Spark. She was an absolute thunderstorm of a woman and I want to hear all of her secrets.

Which book first gave you the reading bug?

I loved ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ books. I mean to the point of obsession. I’d love to write a version for adults.

Apart from your own, which book should we all read this summer, and why?

I’m reading A Bad Character by Deepti Kapoor at the moment which is the story of a transgressive young woman in contemporary Delhi. The sentences and the conjuring of Delhi are stunning.

Thirst, published by Vintage, is out now. 

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You can find even more amazing content from some of our best loved authors, talking about their heroines, on the Five Dials page now.


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