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Posted by Daryl Pope

February 25th 2013

Dear Mr Nicholson, I have just listened to you on BBC Radio 5. This is a longshot. I have witten song lyrics concerning Nelson Mandela's time on Robben Island. I am not a pro (I am a driving instructor), just something I had a go at years ago. I would love to forward it to you, to use and adjust as you see fit / or for you to send on to the appropriate people / or dispose of as you see fit. Its called 'Sometimes the Sun, it Shines'. I am not looking for any royalty, I just would love to get it used and not wasted. Best regards, Daryl Pope, Crowborough, East Sussex. darylthepope@aol.com

William Nicholson responded:

I'm really sorry, but the film is finished now. The composer is at work on the musical score. The film uses a great many songs from the period, and I just know there'd be no place for new songs. But maybe when the film comes out there'll be a resurgence of interest in Mandela and therefore also in your work.

Posted by Tim Stephen

February 25th 2013

William, I have been listening to you on radio 5 live today (25/02/13) and was struck by one thing that you said. "people like me deal in empathy, I spend whole novels making the reader understand what is like to be a particular person". I also deal with in empathy, but not in terms of literature but in terms of customer service. My question is how does you grade the importance of empathy, how do you convince the media/general population that actual empathy is just as important (if not more) than academic prominence? if that makes sense at all!!! Tim

William Nicholson responded:

I agree with you 100%. There's the rather woolly term 'people skills' which is tossed around - my belief is that whatever is covered by such a term is much more important than logical processing. In the old days it might have been called wisdom. How to convince our culture of this? God knows I try, and like you, it's a tough sell. Everyone's so mechanistic, thinks only in terms of measurable product. But customer service is huge - it matters a great deal to every good business - and I think it's an excellent way in to this matter. You make me want to create a character in a novel who's job is in customer service - not a cynical version of a lying manipulator, but someone who genuinely believes that understanding customers' needs will benefit the business. Why don't you write it? Or write a non-fiction book called 'The Joy of Customer Service'? I'd buy it.

Posted by James Long

February 25th 2013

Dear William, Apologies if this question has been asked a great deal, but are there any plans to take the Wind Singer or Wind On Fire trilogy to the silver screen please? The story was so compelling, and the situations were often dark or comedic, and sometimes both of the these at once. Many thanks, James Long

William Nicholson responded:

No plans at all. I wish there were. I still hold all the rights, but no one is clamouring for them. Maybe one day.

Posted by Darri

February 23rd 2013

I have been a fan of yours since I was 8 years old, when you first published The Wind Singer. When writing do you mull things over for a while or do you dive right into it and go over the details later? Also, what do you love writing the most, is it novels, plays, scripts etc.? I apologize if I am asking an age-old question. Thank you for being an inspiration. I hope to become a writer one day, I can't thank you enough for pushing me down that path.

William Nicholson responded:

My method is to do a lot of thinking before I start writing. I work out a structure on paper, fairly loosely, but definitely including the ending. Only then do I start work. I like to work fast, letting the structure change as I go along but not obsessing too much about any of it. Then when I've got to the end, I start back at the beginning and re-write. For me, the novels are the greatest joy, because I'm in charge, and because I can go so deep into my characters. But everything I write feeds all the rest. If you've already started writing yourself, you'll know what I mean. It's not a job, it's a way of living.

Posted by Albeiro Pescador

February 21st 2013

Mr. Nicholson. First of all, thank you very much for your kind and quick response...

William Nicholson responded:

You should have received a copy of the book in the mail by now. Let me know if it hasn't arrived - and give me the full address so I can re-send.

Posted by Philip Todd

February 21st 2013

Dear William, I have just watched First Knight and I was so blown away by the writing I simply had to seek you out immediately. Then I discovered you are responsible for Shadowlands, Gladiator and Les Mis and I'm afraid that did it. I am now your biggest fan. Here begins my epic quest to read every word you have written! I am a young Scottish actor and filmmaker, just starting out, and based in London. And in the often disheartening hunt for work you have given me the most powerful gift of all... hope. Hope that it is possible to make films with truth at the heart, that these films don't have to be sub-culture indies, even that one day I might be a collaborator on such a film! Your writing seems to have the same qualities as Tolkien or C.S. Lewis, it is somehow cleansing. I believe you wanted to be a writer from quite a young age, and my question is this: what writers or texts inspired you growing up and who are your favourite authors? Thank you. Phil (22, UK)

William Nicholson responded:

My God, you're really digging deep into my past! But I suppose it's true, despite all the years everything I write comes somehow from the same place. And yes, that place has been in me since I was very young. It's hard to say who inspired me as I grew up, because just about everything I read had an effect on me, from the William books and the Beano to Jane Austen and then George Eliot and then Tolstoy, who is my GEW - Greatest Ever Writer. As that tells you, I have a strong streak of moralism - not wanting to be priggish, but caring a lot about goodness, or the chance of goodness in this hard life. I should add that although I have no belief in God whatsoever, the Bible, the New Testament, has been a great influence. You're right to seek out work based on truth, and work that leads to deeper truth. Nothing else is worth the effort. And if you never get material success, you still get a massive reward, in the acquisition of wisdom. I hesitate to pile more of my endless stuff on you, but you might appreciate a couple of my books. Maybe The Society of Others? It just might click with where you are now.