First Writes: Lisa O'Donnell, author of The Death of Bees

The first-time writer discusses her Glasgow set tale of young orphaned girls on a housing estate

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First Writes: Lisa O'Donnell, author of The Death of Bees

Give us five words to describe The Death of Bees?
Contemporary. Dark. Comic. Social. Loud.

Name one author who should be more famous than they are now?
Katherine Dunn who wrote the amazing Geek Love. She’s written other things, mostly about boxing I understand, but I would like to have a bigger shelf of her fictional work.

What was the first book you read?
It was a book about telling the time which is weird because I’ve never been on time for anything in my life.

Which book makes you laugh?
Any Human Heart by William Boyd. Narrated in the first person spanning across the 20th century, the journal of the ever evolving Logan Mountstuart had me laughing out loud but it also made me cry in places too. I guess I cried and laughed. It’s an incredible piece of work.

Which dead author do you wish was still alive today?
JD Salinger. I’d ask him what his secrets were and why he wouldn’t let anyone publish them. I’d also ask him ‘what’s wrong?’ He wasn’t a happy person in the end.

What plans do you have for book number two?
I come from a small island in Scotland where everyone knows everything about everyone and so I love the thought of things that are actually kept secret in a world like that. My next book will focus on a big secret having repercussions for everyone who keeps it.

The Death of Bees is published by William Heinemann on Thu 1 Mar.

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