The Kaje talks “Pictures Of Lily” to Matthew Yorke

Following on from his 1988 John Llewellyn Rhys Prize for The March Fence, Matthew Yorke has established himself as an author who creates a world that rings true, something which is unerringly real. It may be difficult to create a world from scratch – building every detail, every connection, every hair – but to replicate the real world to such a degree that it feels all to close home is a skill to be treasured. A skill that Matthew Yorke seems to continually showcase, most recently in his new book Pictures of Lily which we reviewed in the September issue of The Kaje.

How easy was it to write “Pictures of Lily” given the material and some of the drug scenes?

It came easily. There are some people who find accounts of dreams and drug trips boring. I find them fascinating (within reason!).

The novel has the feeling of real, and may hit too close to home for some – is that what you were aiming for?

Ultimately I feel that if you abuse of drugs you risk wasting time – and perhaps much more. It’s tough out there. This, in part, is what I was trying to demonstrate in Pictures of Lily.

Bar the reference to Ayahuasca in the novel how much impact did your time in the Amazon recently have on the novel?

My time in the Amazon informed one of the novel’s main characters: a quasi-apprentice shaman. Having this character in place was a conduit to writing about the ‘spirit world’, ‘a place where there can be no secrets’, which is central to the story.

This is your second novel now, with a short novel also out there, where do you feel you stand as an author?

I have the beginnings of a feel for form. And an idea of my voice, too. I just need to crack on.

What are the plans for the future?

I can not think beyond the next novel, which I am on with now.

You have already tackled some really interesting subjects, and in some very ingenious ways, are there any difficult subjects that you shy away from as an author?

I do not understand murder and pornography, and probably a few other things besides. That makes them difficult subjects. Best to steer clear.

What 3 tips would you offer to those budding authors out there?

Sit down to write everyday. Never give up. Be bold in showing your work.

Pictures of Lily by Matthew Yorke is published by Corsair in paperback original  at  £7.99

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