[Originally published in the August 2010 issue of Words with JAM]
David Nicholls trained as an actor before making the switch to writing. His TV credits include the third series of Cold Feet, Rescue Me, and I Saw You. He was co-writer for the film adaptation of Simpatico, which starred Nick Nolte, Jeff Bridges and Sharon Stone. David's bestselling first novel, Starter for Ten, was selected for the Richard and Judy Book Club in 2004. David wrote the screenplay for the film version, released in 2006, starring James McAvoy, Rebecca Hall and Dominic Cooper. He also wrote And When Did you Last See Your Father (2007), with Jim Broadbent and Colin Firth and a much-praised modern adaptation of Tess of the D’Urbervilles (2008), with Gemma Arterton for the BBC.
His second novel, The Understudy was published in 2005. His most recent, One Day, is currently being filmed with Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess in the roles of Emma and Dexter. David also wrote the screenplay.
He lives in North London with his partner Hannah and two children, Max and Romy.
Which was your favourite childhood book?
The Silver Sword, Ian Serraillier.
Where do you write?
At home three days a week, the British Library the rest of the time.
Which was the book that changed your life?
What objects are on your desk, and why?
A radio, a pot of pens, unanswered letters.
Which book should be on the national curriculum?
Do you have a word or phrase that you most overuse?
Terrific, a terrible word.
Is there a book you were supposed to love but didn't?
I think Wuthering Heights is an insanely over-praised piece of nonsense.
What have you learned from writing?
Which book do you wish you'd written?
Tender is the Night.
What will be written on your gravestone?
Just the facts.
Which book/writer deserves to be better known?
A fine American novelist, John Williams. His book Stoner is a masterpiece.
What are you working on at the moment?
The movie of One Day.
Which pizza topping best represents your personality?
A slow, steady Margarita.
Each issue, we persuade, tempt and coerce (or bully, harass and blackmail) two writers into spilling the contents of their shelves. Twelve questions on books and writing. Plus the Joker – a wild thirteenth card which can reveal so much. Be honest, what do you put on YOUR chips?
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