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Spies I’ve Known

Our Thriller of The Month for August is Nicholas Searle’s assured debut The Good Liar. Searle grew up in Cornwall and studied languages at the Universities of Bath and Göttingen before becoming a civil servant for many years.  He has recently been named one of The Observer’s New Faces of Fiction 2016. Spanning nearly a century, his debut centres on expert con-man Roy who embroils naïve, wealthy widow Betty in an intricate ploy. In an exclusive article for Waterstones, Searle has selected his favourite fictional spies, as well as writing a comprehensive introduction to the espionage genre

On Mary Gaitskill’s Bad Behaviour

Mary Gaitskill’s short story Secretary – from her 1988 collection Bad Behaviour – formed the basis of the controversial film of the same name and over time she has gradually carved an unflinching niche in fiction unafraid to confront the taboo. As her new novel The Mare has just moved to paperback, we are delighted to re-publish this article from the blog archives in 2014, where art critic and author Zoe Pilger frankly considers both Gaitskill’s influence on her own writing and the overall concept of the ‘literary bad girl’

Exclusive Short Story: The King of Rats

At the Young Adult Literature Convention (YALC) today, fans will be queuing up to meet Melinda Salisbury author of sinister YA fantasy novels The Sin Eater’s Daughter and The Sleeping Prince. They will also be in for a treat: each will be given a limited edition mini-book containing an exclusive Melinda Salisbury short story. For those of you unable to attend, fear not – we have the entire story right here for you to enjoy

Elizabeth Strout on writing Olive Kitteridge

Our Fiction Book of the Month for August is Elizabeth Strout's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Olive Kitteridge. The book comprises thirteen linked short stories that capture the internal and external lives of a community in a fictional small-town in Maine. All the residents’ hopes and desires are thread through those of Olive, a retired school teacher. In an interview with the Guardian, Strout said she has begun all five of her novels 'always, always' with a person, adding, 'I’m just interested in character.' Here, she tells the story of how she created the character of Olive Kitteridge which in turn led her to create the award-winning novel

Not Lost in Translation

As a new BBC Radio 4 adaptation of Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend comes to the airwaves, Waterstones Online's Martha Greengrass takes a look at one of the most iconic sagas in a generation

Unlocking Ness

Patrick Ness is the multi-award-winning author of The Knife of Letting GoThe Rest of Us Just Live Here and A Monster Calls, which has been adapted for the screen and will be released later this year. To many, his is the gold-standard of Young Adult fiction, beloved by a legion of fans. We asked his editor, Denise Johnstone-Burt at Walker books, and bookseller (and self-confessed Ness-devotee) Sarah Whitbread to explain what is it that marks Patrick Ness's work out for such unique affection

Cover to Cover

Great book jacket design is often based on the unique harmony of design and illustration, a delicate balance that has the potential to make or break a title in a sometimes rich marketplace. Stormdancer creator Jay Kristoff’s epic new fantasy Nevernight provided HarperCollins designer Cherie Chapman with the opportunity to create one of the most striking covers we've seen this year and the chance to collaborate with master-illustrator Kerby Rosanes. Writing exclusively for Waterstones,  Cherie takes us from concept through to print

The Ones We Love The Most

Adam Haslett is the author of the short story collection, You Are Not A Stranger Here, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and winner of the PEN/Winship Award. His new novel Imagine Me Gone explores a family's love, as well as the depression that resonates through the generations. Theo Tait writing for The Sunday Times described the novel as ‘intimate and panoramic’. He continued,‘there is an exhilaration in reading something so perceptive and well executed’. Waterstones Online’s Sally Campbell caught up with the author to discuss his writing routine, the term 'mental illness' and his exceptionally well-received new book.

Out of the Blue

Enjoying enormous success at the outset of his career - bagging three Crime Writers’ Association’s Gold Daggers, a total only ever matched by Ruth Rendell - Lionel Davidson's writing ultimately fell into almost total obscurity by the late seventies. Sudden interest however in Kolymsky Heights last year has sparked a long-overdue Davidson revival. To celebrate the re-release of Davidson's debut, The Night of Wenceslas, author William Ryan has written an introduction to the ‘stylish, ingenious [book]’ (The New York Times)