“The Norfolk landscape sends a shiver through my soul”

Raffaella Barker Come And Tell Me Some Lies

Raffaella Barker has been writing novels since the age of 26, and has been a promiscuous reader all her life. Raffaella also lectures on the Creative Writing programme at the University of East Anglia, and has taught numerous short courses including The Arvon Foundation, and private groups everywhere from Tuscany to Moniak Moor in Scotland, and Riad El Fenn in Marrakech. She lives on the Norfolk coast. 

‘Books are insulation in my house, literally as they line the walls, and protect us from the savage East winds, and emotionally as they remove me from reality and take me to other realms. I read and re-read all the time. I see reading as half of writing. I cannot imagine one without the other. Reading transports and transfixes me. When I write, I focus on questions, words, entanglements that pull me into the world of my characters to try and understand their lives. 

My writing habits are pretty appalling. For early stirrings of a new book, I dither through small pools of time in my shed in the garden, or in bed, laptop propped on the useful sleeping dog. At first, I don’t spend a whole day writing, I approach the book sideways, to fool myself that I’m not doing it. When enough of an idea has crystallised: setting, a cast, a collision of experience, a secret pinned on a hapless character – the dam suddenly breaks, and I begin writing early in the morning, all day, and on and on until it’s finished.’