Naomi Wood: Author of The Godless Boys

Naomi Wood

Naomi Wood is 27 and lives in London. She studied at Cambridge and at UEA for her MA in Creative Writing. Originally from York, she has gone on to live in Hong Kong, Paris and Washington DC. Back in December, we published an extract from her debut novel The Godless Boys. Now that her novel has been published, we catch up with her:

What’s happened since the extract of The Godless Boys was published in Litro last December?
Well, after proofs, second proofs and a cover design, the book has finally come out! It was published on the first of April of this year (best April Fool’s Day ever) and I had a lovely interview piece published in the Metro, and reviews in Stylist, on Radio 5 Live, and have upcoming ones in the Guardian, the Independent and Vogue.

What does it feel like to have a novel published?
Just splendid. It feels even better than when it was first acquired, because I knew, back then, there would still be a significant edit to do. I keep on having to pinch myself that there really are no more drafts to be written. Other than that, I spend my days in dreadful excitement: glued to the Amazon rankings; glued to Google Alerts to tell me someone, somewhere, has published something about the book. I’ve promised myself a month of this (rather repulsive, I know) self-obsession, and then I will switch off. Hopefully.

When did you decide you wanted to be a writer?
At the end of a relationship, when I didn’t know what to do with my career / life.

What are you reading at the moment?
Drown, by Junot Diaz –  an excellent collection of short stories.

What advice would you give to a first time writer?
Make up quotes from newspapers or an author you love for a boost in morale; insert your name here – “X’s writing is a tour-de-force” or “X is the most important stylist of the twentieth century”.

What is your earliest childhood memory?
Being in my garden in York. The pond at the bottom of the garden was frozen over and my sister and I decided to make an ice-rink on the grass next to it. We picked out the ice with our bare hands, naturally.

What makes you happy?
Finishing work that I had previously thought was a lost cause.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?
American breakfasts.

How do you relax?
Doing the charity shops in Golder’s Green on a Sunday afternoon, and then a walk up to the pergola in Golder’s Park. Lovely.

What is your favourite book?
Perhaps Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, or The Sea by John Banville, or Nabokov’s Lolita.

Which author is underrated or deserves to be better-known?
Flannery O’Connor – I think people have heard of her but not many people have read her. Southern Gothic at its Catholic best.

What’s the worst job you’ve had?
Graduating from university and then handing out flyers back at my old halls of residence. Someone said “Wow, is this what I have to look forward to?”

What is the most important thing life has taught you?
Don’t overwork.

What does the future hold?
I’m writing my second novel about the relationship Ernest Hemingway had with his four wives. There’s so much research, so it’s taking a while, but it’s very refreshing to be working on something so different. In September I’m hopefully going to be teaching undergraduate Creative Writing at UEA as an Associate Tutor. If they’ll have me.

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