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January - March 2012     VOLUME 16 ISSUE 1
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Deborah Crombie

In Their Own Words
Festival of Reading

“There are writers who shudder when asked, “Where do you get your ideas?” but I think the question is both legitimate and fascinating. What could be more interesting than the creative process? I always want to know where other writers get their ideas—I know from experience that books don’t (or very rarely) fall full-fledged from the sky, although there are certainly days when a looming deadline makes me wish they did.”

“For me, stories form in layers, usually with more grit than pearl. Sometimes that first little grain is an idea, the imagination playing “What if?” with something heard or told or read; sometimes I fall in love with a setting and invent a story to suit it. Sometimes it’s a weird conglomeration of the two, and as the story develops it becomes chicken-or-egg. When the book is finished I can’t always pick the pieces apart.”

“Necessary as Blood was one of those. I’m not quite sure when I started thinking about setting a book in the East End. I knew London better further east and south—but little by little, the East End crept into my imagination, like tendrils of an old London pea-souper fog. Photos kept cropping up on one of my favorite blogs, London Daily Photo, with intriguing little bits of information. More East End blips began appearing on my radar, a reference here, a novel or a poem there.”

From her website:

Ms. Crombie will be appearing at the 2012 Festival of Reading.  The complete schedule can be found at