Is screenwriting as glamorous as writers think it is? And does self-doubt ever go away even after massive success? I discuss these questions and more with David Nicholls, internationally bestselling and award-winning author of four novels including One Day.
In the intro, I talk about what I'm doing to prepare for the EU GDPR regulations – and here's Seth Godin's article on why you should care, wherever you are in the world. Respect for your readers and respect for data, in general, is ever more important, especially after Facebook/Cambridge Analytica.
If you want a simple way to get to grips with what you need to do legally in the EU or choose to do elsewhere in the world, then check out this free webinar with Nick Stephenson and data protection lawyer. It's really great information and I'm using it to implement my own compliance steps.
I also mention my ultra-marathon around the Isle of Wight this weekend, along with the Team Creatives – check #healthywriter on Twitter for the pics. Plus, if you're interested in Blockchain and cryptocurrency, check out the CryptoNewsPodcast.
This podcast is sponsored by Kobo Writing Life, which helps authors self-publish and reach readers in global markets through the Kobo eco-system. You can also subscribe to the Kobo Writing Life podcast for interviews with successful indie authors.
David Nicholls is the internationally bestselling and award-winning author of four novels including One Day which was a huge hit in the U.K. and the film around the world as well as a BAFTA-nominated screenwriter for film and TV.
His latest project is Patrick Melrose, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, out on Showtime and Sky Atlantic.
- How David first got into writing through acting
- Moving back and forth from screenwriting to writing novels
- On the challenges of adapting multiple novels into the new television mini-series, Patrick Melrose.
- Receiving dialogue input from Jeff Bridges
- On adapting our own work vs. adapting someone else's book
- Tips for writing a novel with a bittersweet ending
- On dealing with the self-doubt and fears typical in a writing career
Transcript of Interview with David Nicholls
Joanna: Hi, everyone. I'm Joanna Penn from TheCreativePenn.com and today I'm here with David Nicholls. Hi, David.
David: Hello. How are you?
Joanna: It's great to have you on this show. Just a little introduction.
David is the internationally bestselling and award-winning author of four novels including “One Day” which was a huge hit in the U.K. and the film around the world as well as a BAFTA-nominated screenwriter for film and TV.
David, you've done so much but you started out as an actor. How did you get into writing?
David: It was out of necessity really. I was a very unsuccessful actor as you'll tell from this podcast. I studied English and the theater at university and I really loved it. And after I left I was at a bit of a loss what to do and I wanted to remain part of that world and the only real way I could think of doing it was acting.
I'd done a lot of plays in university and loved it and it was kind of an extension of student life really I think, being an actor. I acted all through my 20s in fringe plays and repertory theaters around the country and amateur productions and then I got a job at the National Theater understudying and playing small parts and I did that on and off for about eight years.
As an actor I was in work maybe half the time which is actually pretty good. But I never really played proper parts. I always played these tiny roles and I always did too much. I was one of those small part players who can't keep their hands still and there's always fidgeting and overreacting and it's the only note I ever got as an actor really was to do less.
So I had a lot of spare time in between understudying roles and these small parts in big plays. And I used to read a lot and then I started reading for the literary departments of various theaters where I worked, at the West Yorkshire Playhouse and the National Theater.
I started helping the literary department read through the submitted manuscripts because I had some experience at university I suppose. And I loved that. I loved that element, the writing element.
The best job I ever had as an actor was in the first production of an amazing play called “Arcadia” by Tom Stoppard in 1992, and I was understudying the role, but I was allowed to be in the rehearsals for the production and to see this play come to life and it was such a wonderful production and so brilliant to see a play originate, if you like.
And I suppose over my years as an actor I gradually came to realize that that's what I wanted to do. The thing I loved about acting wasn't acting but writing and that I'd probably stand much more chance as a writer.
So I started writing little scripts and sketches and stories and gradually got the confidence to start showing them to people. I started as an actor, worked as a script reader, worked as a script editor and then finally took the leap into writing.
Joanna: We're going to come back to the screenwriting, but then I want to ask you when did you decide to write novels? Because they're different skills. If people listening have never read a screenplay or a play, they are very different forms of writing.
Why did you move into writing a novel? What was it that you weren't satisfied with screenwriting?
David: Well, again it was born out of necessity really. I had a really good run early on as a screenwriter. I'd written a script with a friend of mine, Matthew Warchus, who's a theater director, based on a Sam Shepherd play called “Simpatico” and mainly through Matthew's talent and determination that got made as a feature film.
Suddenly I had a produced feature film script and I've written some other things, some comedies and some drama pilots that were read by various producers and they started to happen. I got a job working on someone else's show, a show called “Cold Feet” so for people outside the U.K. created by Mike Bullen, but they needed other writers and I began to write episodes of that.
I loved doing that and the episodes were a success and got big audiences and I got off with my own show. I got off with two shows in fact. One was called “I Saw You” and one was called “Rescue Me” and they were big, big C1 shows, ITV shows and they didn't do very well.
They were great shows and I loved them but they didn't get the audiences they needed to be a success and to be recommissioned. I went very quickly from being over-employed to being very under-employed and not really knowing what to do next.
And also a lot of where I've been writing had been of a sort of a 30-something relationship drama, kind of comedy-drama, and I felt that I'd written as much as I ever wanted to write about 30-somethings having relationship trouble. So I wanted to write something that I was really passionate about.
Going to university has always been a big marker in my life. The main event of my life I suppose. I always wanted to find a way of writing about that. I made some notes and started writing them up and realized that rather than a script, rather than a screenplay, it was a novel.
It was like a monologue, a dramatic monologue, which is another way of saying a first-person narrative, a first-person novel. I showed it to a friend who showed it to an agent and that became my first novel.
So it was really born out of necessity, out of having pursued one line of professional life and that coming to an abrupt end and taking a while to pick myself up and have a rethink and start again on something else.
Joanna: It's so interesting because some people assume that the writer's life is, you wake up and you go, “Oh, well, I'm just going to write this screenplay and I'm going to write this novel and then I'm going to win awards.” As you've discussed though it doesn't go like that, does it?
It doesn't go from nothing to the top.
David: No, it's fits and starts and I can't ever imagine being relaxed about it or complacent. I'm very fearful all the time. Even when it appears to be going well. It's very nerve-wracking.
To a degree, I don't mind that. It should be frightening having a book out or having someone read your work or watch you work. There should be some stakes involved. So that's fine.
I've been very, very lucky, I think, to be able to write in all three mediums. But I feel that it's an ongoing process and I'm always learning things. I don't feel like an old hand. I've written 25 hours of telly and 6, 7 feature films and 4 novels but in all of those mediums I don't feel, “Oh, now I've got it.”
Writing the third novel doesn't make the fourth novel any easier. It's all ongoing and you're always making mistakes and screwing up and learning and hopefully moving forward.
Joanna: Let's talk about your latest TV adaptation which is “Melrose” starring Benedict Cumberbatch which is out on Showtime and Sky Atlantic the week this goes out. This is really interesting and a different challenge because you've talked there about writing your own original stuff. But this is an adaptation, not just of one novel but multiple novels into a series.
Talk a bit about “Melrose” and the challenges of adapting multiple novels.
David: Yes, it's five novels adapted into a five-part series. Each episode one hour. Each episode more or less corresponding to one of the novels.
This is based on an amazing series of novels by a great writer called Edward St. Aubyn and I've read these books over the years. They come out at roughly five year intervals and they're scenes from the life really of an aristocratic family in decline.
The central character is Patrick Melrose played by Benedict Cumberbatch, who when we first meet him is in a terrible state. He's a heroin addict, he's caught up in a spiral of self-destruction, he's spending his way through the family fortune.
It's really an investigation into how he became like this and how he finds some kind of redemption, which makes it sound very worthy but it's very, very funny and spiky and bitter and cynical and brilliant I think.
I read the first book back in the early '90s when I was working in a book shop and I picked it up off the tables and started reading and was really blown away that something that was very much in a tradition, a sort of British literary tradition should also feel so modern and startling and original.
It had always been a dream project. I've been working on it now I think for about five years. It's finally coming to fruition now. It's finally finished. I just watched the last edit of the last episode today. And I'm really proud of it.
Joanna: Wow. Again the timing thing is so interesting because again people think, “If you write a screenplay it'll end up on TV like next year or something.”
Had you already finished it or is that from commission to screen?
David: I would think from my first meeting with the producers and then with Edward St. Aubyn, with the writer, the novelist, I would think it's probably six years and then a year or so working on the first script, which was 90 minutes long and then some time cutting it down to 60 minutes and doing the format change. It was 5, 60 minutes instead of 4, 90 minutes and then structuring the rest of them.
And then changing the order slightly and then writing the third one, and realizing there are things in the third one that should go in the second one. And then adding the fourth one and getting a broadcaster attached, and having those meetings and losing the broadcaster.
Having further conversations about the first two and changing the order, and just working like that through endless drafts. If I look in my file on my computer I'm sure there are 60, 70 drafts of the scripts, and that rewriting process happens not just through production but on through the edit.
I'm still writing little bits of what they call ADR for the edit for next week. Just filling in little bits of information and little bits of emphasis. I won't stop writing it until it goes out on the television. So it's a long, long process.
Joanna: It's amazing and again, I think people don't have a very good idea of what a working screenwriter kinda does and these numbers of drafts as you say, but one of the sexy things that everybody wants is being on set.
David: Yeah, yeah.
Joanna: Being that everyone thinks that. Do you get to go on set? Do you hang out with Benedict?
Is it really glamorous or is it just not at all?
David: When people say it's not glamorous you think, “Oh, come on. It is glamorous. It must be exciting.” And it's exciting but it's not glamorous.
It's both the most exciting thing that'll ever happen to you and also fantastically boring, because there's nothing to do. I mean, it really is. There's nothing to do except eat biscuits and drink weak tea. It's very, very nerve-wracking.
If I go on set and I'm watching a scene play and I watch a take and I think, “Oh, that's beautiful. That's everything I wanted.” And they go for another take and the light is fading I'm instantly thinking, “Well, that one was fine. Move on, move on, move on. We're gonna run out of time.”
The days always start with a languid leisurely approach to shooting and they always end with this frantic, “Oh, my God. We're not going to finish in time,” feeling. Which for a writer, you can't do anything. You're not even allowed to touch the equipment. It's very nerve-wracking.
I'm not at all complacent about actors, being with actors either. Two reasons. One is, I'm a fan and so it's exciting and I'm scared of making a fool of myself and saying the wrong thing.
And two is that they tend to ask for script changes, hence all the rewrites. And you usually have a very, very good reason why you've put the words exactly as they are on the page and I find it very, very hard to turn actors down.
I remember the first time I wrote a screenplay that was going to be produced, the Sam Shepherd film. I got a phone call one night and I was living in that little bedsit in South London and the phone rang and a voice said, “Hi, it's Jeff here.” And my father-in-law is called Jeff. And I thought, “Oh, it's Jeff.”
So I said, “Hi, Jeffrey. How are you? What's going on?” He said, “I'm good but I have some notes about the script.” And I realized that it was Jeff Bridges who is in the film, calling me at my home number in this little flat in Stockwell. And I went into a complete panic because it's Jeff Bridges.
My God, it's thrilling and exciting and I grabbed a pen and we went through the script and there is no way in the world that I'm going to say no to a note from Jeff Bridges because I'm a huge fan and no one, I'm just starting out as a writer. And this person is hugely experienced. So you'd be silly not to listen to them.
At the same time, sometimes you do have to say no and it's usually better to go through that process via a director or a producer because everyone has their own version of the script in their heads. They're very sure that their version is the right one and that applies to the screenwriters and the producers and the performers and the cinematographer.
Everyone on that film would make a different film given the same script. And you have to find a way of screening those endless opinions because there's an infinite number of variables in the production process. So this is a very long-winded answer to your question.
Joanna: No, it's fascinating.
David: Which is that it's very exciting to be on set but you are as a writer entirely useless and you will often either distract the cast who would think that you are checking up on them or you'll simply get in the way or you will worry the director or you'll see something that you're sure someone else should've noticed and they haven't.
The makeup doesn't look quite right. And you're not qualified to give those opinions. As a writer you have a very set range of responsibilities and you have to stick to them. When you're a novelist everything is up to you and when you're a screenwriter you have a very specific job description which you have to stick to.
Joanna: I'm loving this. This is so interesting. I know my audience are really enjoying it, too.
But this discussion of the actor. So you've written lines of dialogue which will go in the mouth of actors who are great at their job. Now as you say, you've made the words specific because you're the writer. That's what you've done.
Is there a rule for sort of, “Oh, we'll just let X percent of it just go with whatever the actor does in the moment.”
What are your tips for writing dialogue that actors don't mess with?
David: I'm not bullish at all. I hate confrontation. I'm not very good at it. Filmmaking can be quite a confrontational business and I hate that aspect of it.
But I am pretty tough about people saying what's written or talking to me about changing it because everything is there for a reason. And if you've taken care with your dialogue and you've said it out loud and you've listened carefully at a read through you should be able to spot the sticky patches.
That said, if an actor's having trouble saying something there's often a reason and the actors are bringing with them expertise and experience and you'd be silly not to listen to them.
Here's an example. I made a film of Thomas Hardy's “Far from the Madding Crowd” and Carey Mulligan who was amazing as Bathsheba in that, but who was very keen to go back to the line as written in the novel. I'd given her the line, “I cannot marry you.” And she found in the novel the original line which was, “I do not find it in my heart that I have the emotions required to marry you.” Or something like that. I'm paraphrasing.
I deliberately decluttered, I suppose, the dialogue, because Thomas Hardy's dialogue is quite florid and I thought it'd be much better if it's pithy and to the point.
But the idea that Carey had was the verbosity of the dialogue…the fact that it was very hard to say was something she could use. And she showed me and I saw it and we went back to the line as written by Thomas Hardy and you can see it in the movie in the scene with Boldwood where she turns down his marriage refusal.
She's trying to find her way through the sentence. She's trying to find the right words to turn him down in a way that she absolutely wouldn't have been able to if she just said what I'd written, “I cannot marry you.”
So at times like that you'd be crazy not to listen because actors are not just doing it for selfish reasons. They're often doing it because there's an element in there that they can use.
On the other hand, if I watch rushes and I found out that lines had been added or riffed on or that the rhythm of a joke has been changed, I get really annoyed and particularly when a lot of modern actors add a lot of little hiccups like, “I kinda think.” Instead of, “I think.” Or, “I really wanna.” Instead of, “I want to.”
And they think they're making the dialogue more realistic but often they ruin the rhythm or a scene stretches and becomes too long or the acting becomes mannered. So I am very strict about making sure the words are said as spoken unless agreed otherwise.
Joanna: And you mentioned the “Far from the Madding Crowd” and I love Thomas Hardy. “Jude the Obscure”, one of my favorite books.
Joanna: You haven't adapted that one yet?
David: No. It has come up in discussion because I've done two Hardys now. I've done “Tess” and “Far from the Madding Crowd” and I love both of them and of the adaptations I've done, they're the ones I'm proudest of because Hardy really adapts well.
He writes in a way that's very suited to cinema and TV. There are these literal cliffhangers. He wrote the first cliffhanger in I think, “Two on a Tower,” someone will correct me I'm sure, but there's a scene which ends with someone literally hanging off a cliff by the tips of their fingers.
He writes these wonderful set pieces that come along at regularly spaced intervals and when people think of a Hardy novel they think of, “Oh, the bit where Tess eats the strawberry. The sheep shearing in “For from the Madding Crowd.” It's a series of wonderful set pieces. So they were a pleasure to adapt. And I've forgotten your original question.
Joanna: These are giant books in the consciousness. You also did, “Great Expectations,” but then you also adapted your own novel, “One Day” and also “Melrose,” someone else's work.
The difference between adapting someone else's and adapting your own, especially when author's are often told not to adapt their own work.
David: I kind of agree. I don't think, “Well, they should adapt their own work.” Of the work I've done, adapting my own work has been the least pleasurable and the hardest because to me it's like cutting your own hair. You can't see all the way around. You tend not to be as ruthless and as clearheaded as you ought to be.
You know the circumstances of the writing and you have all these opinions of readers in your head and we can't cut that scene. It's so and so's favorite scene. And we mustn't change the ending because these reasons, we think it's the better part of the book.
You come with a whole load of baggage that makes it very hard to be as ruthless as you need to be in the process of adaptation. Because no adaptation is faithful. If I sat here and read my own book out loud to you even in my voice I would give an inflection to certain character speech. I would contradict the version that plays in your head when you read the book.
So you have to accept that adaptation means change and when it's something that you slaved over for three or four or five years, when it's something you think you know better than anyone else in the world it's very hard to let go of the certain things.
It's excruciating to be in an edit and watch stuff that you love just hit the floor. Having adapted all four of my books I would love to find a way not to do it, because you think you're go into it because you think you'll have control and then you realize very quickly that are a little further down the pecking order than you were when you're a novelist.
As far as adapting other people's books is concerned my primary thought is what is the brief here. Are we really wanting to satisfy people who know and love this book or can we be a little bit free with it?
I did a version of, “Much Ado About Nothing” for a BBC series called “Shakespeare Retold” where the brief was to have fun. To use the material but to use it in a very loose way, to use it as an inspiration and to include references and language but to do an original piece inspired by it. And that's what I did.
But with a book like “Great Expectations” or “Tess” or “Far from the Madding Crowd,” if you don't hit certain beats and include certain scenes and certain lines of dialogue then, these are people's favorite books. It would be perverse not to give them some of the satisfaction and some of the identification they felt when they read the book.
Patrick Melrose falls somewhere in between in that the books are known and loved but they're kind of cultish. They don't have a huge readership. And in a way that's perfect because they are pretty faithful adaptations, most of the dialogue is in the book, but I have a certain amount of freedom as well to perform the necessary surgery that is required.
Teddy St. Aubyn, the writer said that that's what he found hard was that he's produced, he's given someone a whole fish and what you get back are the bones. She could define that there's been this extraordinary filleting process and hopefully it's been done skillfully and precisely and responsibly.
I think he's pretty happy with the adaptation. But there's a long, long tradition of authors being fed up with the adaptations of their work. Even Thomas Hardy. Thomas Hardy's the last great 19th century writer to see an adaptation of his work. He went to the movies to see “Tess of the d'Urbervilles” and of course he hated it. Why wouldn't he? And he thought they got the cows all wrong. And hated the changes that had been made. And it would always be thus.
Joanna: I didn't know he'd seen that. That's crazy. And of course a lot of people love that first one.
I need to ask you about “One Day” because my very romantic husband wanted to kill you with that book because I read the book and then I made him watch the movie on Valentine's Day thinking that it would be, you know…and I knew the ending. We won't spoil any endings but it's very well known for having a bittersweet ending.
Joanna: Even though it would come under romance in a way, to me, it's more like love story because of that bittersweet ending.
Why do you think that story resonated with people so much and what are your tips for writing an ending that is bittersweet?
David: Bittersweet…in terms of my original work that's the word I keep coming back to. I really overuse it. I'm constantly saying, “I think this might be another bittersweet novel. I should write something that's either just bitter or just sweet.” But I tend not to.
I've never written a happy ending. I've never written anything that didn't have a little bit of grit, didn't have a little kind of bitter irony to it. I suppose personally that's just a reflection of the world that moments of pure happiness are extremely few and far between and that also that the best comedy is tainted with a wonderful element of pain.
I'm not very good with very broad slapstick, farcical comedy. I prefer there to be a little touch of sadness or longing or regret to it and that I don't know if I can give tips for. I think it's just a sensibility that I have.
But the endings, I always know what they're going to be and I always work hard towards achieving that feeling. I think almost the best piece of writing advice I ever had was someone saying to me, “What you've got to do is work out the effect you want to have on the reader and go all out to achieve it.”
With “One Day” in my head I knew I wanted it to be a great pop song, a great happy sad pop song. Something that was in a major key but made you want to cry. I could even list the songs that I had in my mind, the songs that had a kind of shift between major and minor.
In all my books, but most especially in “One Day” that's what I set out to achieve. And I planned it quite carefully. “One Day” has a very specific structure in that it's a love story over 20 years but told on events on one particular day, an ordinary day that turns out not to be an ordinary day.
And because it was so much about the structure, I worked out the events not just on that particular day, but on all the days in between as well. So I knew where the characters were when they weren't on the page and it was like a big jigsaw that I put together but it was all working up to this one particular event.
The idea for that structure, by the way, incidentally came from “Tess of the d'Urbervilles.” There's a passage in “Tess of the d'Urbervilles” that I read when I was 17. People who know the book very well will remember a bit where she looks in the mirror and feels a sort of shiver down her spine and a premonition of the future. And she has this idea that not only do we have a birthday. We have a day somewhere else in the year on which something else might happen. And I can't really say anymore because it's…
Joanna: A spoiler.
David: …a spoiler. But that was the idea. And so, a book that I read when I was 17 gave me an idea that I wrote up as a novel nearly 30 years later.
Joanna: You mentioned the bones of the fish. Teddy saying you took the fish and turned it into bones.
What is your plotting device to go from the bones and then flesh it out from there?
David: I suppose so, yes. The bones sounds terrible because no one wants bones.
Joanna: Structure. Structure.
David: What I hope you meant was that, yes, that you've retained something that's recognizably the original even though you've had to lose things along the way.
The show “Patrick Melrose” corresponds to the structure of the five books but we've changed the order of events and we flipped the first two books. And partly that's because if we did the events chronologically then Benedict Cumberbatch wouldn't be in the first episode.
Joanna: He needs to be.
David: He needs to be in the first episode, yeah. So we've slightly flipped the structure but that aside, it's a pretty faithful adaptation and that is a good thing in this respect because I really wanted these books to be better known and I really wanted people who loved the books to think, “Yes, that's what I thought in my head.”
But also to bring new people to the books which I think is the great hope you have of an adaptation that people watch it and have a certain curiosity about what's been changed and what's been left out.
One of the marks of Teddy St. Aubyn is he writes amazing dialogue. I would say maybe 70% of the dialogue on the screen is from the books. However, often it's things that people thought or that it's a line of description that's been turned into a line of dialogue or something that someone refers to in the past is reenacted as a scene in the present.
So it's not just about going through with a highlighter pen and copying out the dialogue. It's about looking for little bits of description, past events, past historical events, things from the family's past that maybe aren't on the page and putting them on the screen.
Screenplays are basically instruction manuals and they describe what people say and do. And if I'm writing a screenplay and I'm writing in the stage directions ‘he thinks' or ‘she thinks' or ‘she wonders' then I stop to worry myself because how is the audience gonna know that?
You've got to find a way to demonstrate it. For a novelist, it's the most natural thing in the world to write he thought, she thought, he felt, she felt. Screenplays are wonderful descriptions of what people say and do and novels are fantastic descriptions into what people think and feel.
The process of adaptation's often about getting the thoughts and the feelings into actions and dialogue and that was the biggest challenge with “Patrick Melrose.”
Joanna: I just want to circle back before we finish up. Earlier you talked about being fearful, being frightened. You talked about confidence and I know again where you are in your career it looks like you've had all this amazing success and yet you still mention fear.
I think self-doubt seems to be a chronic problem for writers in general.
How have you dealt with fears over your creative career and how do you keep writing for the long-term living with those feelings?
David: Part of it, I think, is a work ethic. I think I'm extremely lucky to be able to make a living as a writer and if I had a deadline for a script then I'll meet the deadline. And I also would be really embarrassed to hand in something that I didn't think was as good as it could be.
There could absolutely be problems that I don't know how to solve, but I would've done as much as I possibly can to fix those problems before I let anyone look at it. And no one's going to publish something or produce a screenplay until you're ready to show it. You shouldn't let unfinished work out. It should be the best possible work.
But I suppose another answer to that question would be that I don't really cope with it. I find it very, very nerve-wracking. When the shows go out I will be a nervous wreck. My personal way of dealing with that is to be quite private. I'm not on Twitter, I don't read reviews.
Not because I think there's anything wrong with reviewing or criticism. I think it's absolutely valid but often for the writer it's too late. It's like someone telling me what they think of my nose. There's nothing I can do with my nose. It's as it is. It's too late now.
I protect myself to a certain degree from things, from criticism that I know I can do nothing about. But I go out of my way to listen to criticism and responses that I think will improve the work. I'm not dismissive of notes. I'm not dismissive of feedback from people that I respect and whether they're an actor or a book editor or a director. I would listen carefully and try and respond to try and make the work better.
A certain amount of responsibility and pride in the work and a work ethic. You'll always get things wrong. It doesn't matter how hard you try. You'll always just misjudge something or the circumstances won't be right. That said, I really love “Patrick Melrose.” I mean, I think it's the best thing I've done and I hope it works. It's very different from anything I've done, but I'm really proud of it.
Joanna: I've seen the trailer which looked brilliant. I've never heard of it. I've never heard of the writer and in talking to you and watching the trailer I'm like, “Okay. Great. Going on the list.”
David: It's very wild and dark and strange, much more so than anything I've done, but I really love it.
Joanna: When this interview goes out it is out on Showtime and Sky Atlantic and I'm sure it will be on all the other places you can get these things later.
Where can people find you and everything you do online?
David: I'm embarrassed to answer this because it's quite hard. If you wanted to see what websites looked like five years ago you can look at my website, which I think is davidnichollswriter.com, but it's very, very out of date. And I'm not on Twitter.
I'm too much of a wreck to be on Twitter. So I would be probably my publisher or agent, I think, is probably the best way because there's a whole lot to be said about social media. I think I'm going to take a deep breath and be more out there. But at the moment I'm quite reclusive. So it's harder than it should be.
Joanna: Well, I've had a look at your website and I thought it was fine.
David: It is five years out of date.
Joanna: It's brilliant. Well, thanks so much for your time, David. That was great.
David: Thank you. Thanks, Joanna.