Browse in any library or bookshop and you’re almost bound to come across a section devoted to books purporting to tell you how to turn yourself into a successful writer. I know. I’ve read quite a few of them. As you might guess, since you don’t see my name on the Costa Awards list, I didn’t find them particularly helpful.

I’m sorry to say, there is no simple secret to literary success, just as there is no definitive handbook for being a good spouse, partner, or parent. These things are way too complicated for that. But, you can learn something of the ups and downs of literary life by reading about other writers’ experiences.

In 100 Ways to Write a Book, the estimable Alex Pearl has somehow corralled no less than one hundred writers and cajoled them into sharing their thoughts on the craft. And yes, I was hugely chuffed to be asked to be among them. 

Authors from all sorts of backgrounds, from debut writers to award-winning best sellers, give you a peak into their motivations and working methods. 

It’s a fascinating read and will probably do you more good, in terms of inspiration and insight, than no end of ‘how to’ books droning on about mood boards, time lines and writing apps. 

All author proceeds from the book will be donated to PEN International