How Bill Clegg Writes

Bill Clegg “My brother had been in heating and plumbing school doing an apprenticeship and was talking about homes – vacation homes especially – that had propane leaks, which would blow up. I am distracted and restless, so I sort of imagined myself as the person who might leave the gas on.”
[in an interview with ‘The Bookseller’ magazine, June 19, 2015]

Bill Clegg


Before this conversation with his brother, Clegg already had his themes, some of the characters and the setting. But it didn’t come together until the conversation about leaving the gas on. The book opens with a literal bang, a home explodes, killing everyone inside.

For inspiration, Clegg drew on his own life. The setting – Wells, Connecticut – is straight from his childhood town of Sharon, Connecticut, with class tension between the residents, the townies, and the wealthy second-homers. “Celebrities and the wealthy would blow into town with this unknowable glamour, leading lives we couldn’t begin to understand. I worked for them – landscaping, gardening, raking leaves – during the week when they weren’t there. I would be on these beautiful properties, just imagining the lives of the people who owned them – they were so different from ours. There was a longing and a lot of resentment.”

Previous to this, Clegg wrote two memoirs about his life as a literary agent, and his drug addiction. For more about this, visit his website Portrait of An Addict.

Bill Clegg


See how these other novelists write:-
Robin Stevens
Hanya Yanagihara
Paula Hawkins

‘Did You Ever Have a Family’ by Bill Clegg [UK: Jonathan Cape] Buy now

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Why #author Bill Clegg imagined leaving the gas on via @SandraDanby #amwriting