Book Reviews

‘The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.’ Alan Bennett

“Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.” ― Franz Kafka

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Thirst - Kerry Hudson - Blog Tour

Today I am very pleased to share a guest post by author Kerry Hudson, whose second novel Thirst is published by Chatto & Windus on 17th July 2014.

I reviewed Kerry's debut novel here - Tony Hogan Bought me an Ice-Cream Float before he Stole my Ma.

Writing rituals by Kerry Hudson

It’s no secret that I travel a lot. Even when theoretically based in London, my recent years have been punctuated by short trips here or there, sometimes for writing work – as happened recently when I was writer in residence in Seoul for a month – or sometimes just because my wanderlust became irrepressible.

Photo by Nick Tucker Photography
So how do I keep writing? With different routines, environments and demands on my time? Well I have my little ‘writing rituals’ built up, without even realising it, as I wrote my books. In the last few years I’ve come call quite a few writers friends (I knew none when my first book came out) and what strikes me is, though we usually have strikingly different lifestyles and often write very different timescales for book delivery, there are commonalties in those writing rituals.  

Here are the most popular writing rituals:

Get some Freedom…yes the time kind but hopefully that’s been carved out already by making writing a priority, by explaining to family, friends and partners why it’s an important part of your life. But in this instance, I mean Freedom that’s the app that turns of the internet. No sneaking to Twitter of Facebook to look at Gifs of kittens when you get bored, no giving up your story halfway through to check your Amazon sales rank. Nothing. Just you and the page and the beautiful silence of returning to circa 1993.

Accept that sometimes you’re writing when you’re not…some people go over their impending scenes in the shower, some on long drives at night time. I favour long city walks, plugged into some good music, a hot cup of coffee. Whatever city I’m in, I walk until hunger or achey limbs force me back to the land of the living. Inevitably something comes ‘unstuck’ on those walks though. I learned to accept that not all writing time is spent at your desk but I take care to conscious about this and stay with the story whatever else I’m doing.

Shake your ass…or whatever part of your body you’d like to, but do exercise. I try to never go a day without. Yoga is popular amongst writers because we are all terrified of end up as hunchbacks without it (my whole body clicks like a percussive instrument when I stretch and that’s *with* regular yoga). I also run, swim laps or just go for that long walk above every day. This is without a doubt – except, you know, WORDS – the most common writer’s practice…do it for your posture, to stop you from going mental or because you believe defined abs sells more books but it’s a good, healthy practice to get into.

Booze and coffee…I got very fond of hot-toddies made with lime while I was in Vietnam finishing my second book Thirst. Some writers like to write in the pub, some have a bottle of wine chilling in the fridge as incentive (dangerous game, that one). A glass – note, singular – at your elbow seems to act as a ‘loosener’ and a treat all at once. And it goes without saying coffee is the lifeblood. I don’t have kids and keep my own schedule (which involves more sleep than the average tranquilised kitten needs) but coffee spikes my adrenalin beautifully, keeps me going when I feel ‘on it’ and boost me when I’m feeling ‘very much not on it’.

Revisit the well…writers read, I think this goes without saying. But most of the writers I know make time for other culture. They are excited by good music, telly, theatre, art and photography. Me? I’m a film junkie and music obsessive. When I need to refresh myself I go to the cinema, see a photography exhibition or go to a gig. Art informs art and I’ve lost count of the amount of time I’ve come home after seeing something beautiful determined to try to honour my ideas and make something as good as it can be.

Words….yes, those too. I find setting a number of words a day the best technique and the most prolific writers I know also do this. Some set themselves a certain time target  – one uses the ‘Pomodoro Techinique’. Others write longhand or dictate and then type up. Many, myself included, use Scrivener for redrafting while lots stick with post-its. There are lots of different techniques for getting the words on the page and then making those words into something you might want other to see, but ultimately this is the most important ritual of all. After all, writers write.  

About the novel

The beginning of a relationship is usually all about getting to know one another, sharing stories far into the night, comparing experiences, triumphs and heartaches, until we know each other inside out.
Not so for Dave and Alena. He’s from London, she’s from Siberia. They meet in a sleek Bond Street department store in the frayed heat of high summer where she’s up to no good and it’s his job to catch her. So begins an unlikely relationship between two people with pasts, with secrets, they’ve no idea how to live with — or leave behind. But despite everything they don’t have in common, all the details they won’t and can’t reveal, they still find themselves fighting with all they’ve got for a future together.
Thirst is the heart-wrenching, life-affirming second novel from Kerry Hudson, whose debut Tony Hogan Brought Me an Ice-cream Float Before He Stole My Ma was one of the most talked about UK debuts of 2012 and was shortlisted for an array of prizes, including the Guardian First Novel Award and the Sky Arts Awards.


  1. The interesting thing is that this great advice on how to stay focused and consistent with one's writing can be applied to many of life's worthy endeavors.

  2. Thanks for hosting such an interesting post from Kerry. I'm a big fan of walking and often find it a great way to gain some 'thinking time' during the day.


Thank you so much for taking the time to visit and leave a comment. It's great reading your comments and I really appreciate them :)