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Posted by Madeleine Vaughan

August 19th 2013

Dear William Nicholson, Again, this isn't so much of a question as an appreciation post. As a young girl I had extreme difficulty reading and writing, as I suffered from dyslexia. As such, it was very difficult to get me to read anything. The Wind on Fire series were a total inspiration to me, and I had great difficulty putting them down. They were one of the key stepping-stones that got me into being a coherent reader and writer. After years of struggle, of over-coming technical difficulties, trying to catch up with my class, and struggling to get my words onto paper, I have just been offered my first publishing contract for a Fantasy novel. Your work not only got me so hooked that, despite difficulties, I forced myself to read on, but it taught me a thing or two about characters. Your characters always had so much depth, from Kestrel who inspired me a woman and who I have subsequently named a character after, to Mumpo who became so much more than he initially seemed. Your mastery of building interesting, new civilizations, mixing magic with subtle social commentaries. I was enchanted from page one. Thank you so much for everything, and bless you. If I can be a quarter of the writer you are, I will be very happy.

William Nicholson responded:

Does it now seem to you that the years of struggle have been a vital part of what you have to offer as a writer? I'm committed to the idea that writing is more than the making of books, it's a way of understanding the process of living. The deeper the understanding, the more the work resonates with others. Which means, to put it a little over-grandly perhaps, that we have to suffer to create. If this is so, your current development is not in spite of your earlier difficulties but has grown out of them. If I've helped a little along the way, then I'm very proud. I hope your novel goes well; and that whatever happens in the uncertain world of publishing, you continue to write, and to find joy and wisdom in writing.

Posted by Sarah Underwood

August 14th 2013

I want to start off by saying thank you (as many here have already said). Your book The Wind Singer made a profound impact on my life as a young girl -- it helped me have characters to relate to in the year after my mother died and offered me some repreive as I faced the reprocussions her death had on me both socially and academically. Also, as if the companionship of your characters was not already enough, your book was the first thing I read fully and completely for myself. The Wind Singer is what sparked my love of reading, which has now translated itself into my current pursuit of an English degree and aspiraton to become an English professor. This thank you has been years in the making, but I wanted you to know how much your writing helped me get my life together after I had seen so many areas of it fall apart -- it means more than I could ever express. And now for a breif question. For the past couple years, I have been entertaining the thought of a Wind Singer movie. Knowing that you are a screenwriter, I am interested to hear if you have ever given this possibility any thought, or if you see any possiblity of making it a reality in the future? Looking at what has been popular in theaters lately, I can only imagine great praise for a Wind Singer movie. Thank you so much for your time. I am looking forward to your response. :)

William Nicholson responded:

What more can a writer ask? This is what I write for - to pass on through stories what matters to me, and I hope to others. So thank you. As for a film, yes, I'd love to see it, but no serious film company has come forward so far with a proposal. It would be quite expensive, I suppose, and I, for my part, wouldn't want it done unless it could be done well. Maybe one day...

Posted by Veronica Cross

August 13th 2013

This is not a question. Just an appreciation of the hours spent reading Motherland. Such elegant style and deep insights. I am barely recovering from the tears over those two letters to Kitty and Larry. A rich, rewarding read. I wish I were starting all over again. Thank you William Nicholson for making me feel deeply about your characters and philosophy.

William Nicholson responded:

You've made my day. I've put so much into this book. The sequel to Motherland, which is called Reckless, will be published next spring. It picks up the story of the little girl, Pamela, now 18; as well as other characters. I'm very pleased with it, but have yet to find out if anyone else likes it. Maybe you will.

Posted by Sithembiso Ntombela

July 29th 2013

Hi William, i just saw the trailer for Mandela, Long Walk to freedom, How long did it take you to write this screenplay?

William Nicholson responded:

It's been a long process. I started in 1997. Of course I've done a million other things in the intervening years, but I've kept going on this one, it matters so much to me. Much of the delay has been actor/director connected, but even so I've clocked up 33 drafts. It's a really tough story to condense. But to my amazement here we are, with the best version it's ever been, the best director, the best star. Believe me, the movie is astounding. So somehow thew gods of screen work have been with us, even when we felt abandoned. Hope you agree when you get to see it later this year.

Posted by Jeff

July 28th 2013

Wow. I finished The Society of Others ten minutes ago. I absolutely floored, actually much like I was after I finished Paul Auster's New York Trilogy. Such a brilliant book, sir, and I wanted you to know how much I was staggered and impressed by it!

William Nicholson responded:

That is so wonderful for me to hear. I put so much into that book, and as far as I know it's still pretty much undiscovered. So you're a pioneer. Thank you for that.

Posted by Irving Benig

July 24th 2013

No question, just enjoying reading The Retreat from Moscow. I write plays, just finished one about my own family, hopefully I got it right, toughest play I ever wrote (having a reading here in New York). My wife and I will be in London in October, love to have a cup of tea with you. Best, Irving

William Nicholson responded:

I hope the reading goes well. When I wrote my play about my family my mother read it and said, 'It's so boring, who'd want to see it?' When she saw the actual production she broke down, and said weeping, 'Now I understand why he left.' I tried to tell her I'd made that bit up, guessing at my father's mindset - my father's never been a great talker - but she wouldn't have it. Now my play is her version. She's still alive - just - dying as I write. So no, it's not easy, and shouldn't be. Let me know when you're over and if I can I'll meet up.