Several people, not just reviewers, took me to task for writing about what they called the working classes - something I've been doing for 40 years. I thought that was contemptible - what do they want to do, ghettoize the working class as a subject? Can you only write about your own class? I've written about royalty, am I not allowed to do that?
Watching an adaptation of your novel can be a violent experience: seeing your old jokes suddenly thrust at you can be alarming. But I started to enjoy 'Money' very quickly, and then I relaxed.
Jane was my wicked stepmother: she was generous, affectionate and resourceful; she salvaged my schooling and I owe her an unknowable debt for that. One flaw: sometimes, early on, she would tell me things designed to make me think less of my mother, and I would wave her away, saying, 'Jane, this just backfires and makes me think less of you.'
When I go back to the core of my childhood, my cousin Lucy seems always to be in the peripheral vision of my memories. She is off to one side, always off to one side, with a book, with a scheme or a project or an enterprise.
The middle class is doing fine in fiction. But it's not what gets me going. I love the working class, and everyone from it I've met, and think they're incredibly witty, inventive - there's a lot of poetry there.
The process of writing a novel begins with a pang, a moment of recognition, and a situation, a character, or something you read in a paper, that seems to go off, like a solar flare inside your head.
People ask me if I ever thought of writing a children's book. I say, 'If I had a serious brain injury I might well write a children's book', but otherwise the idea of being conscious of who you're directing the story to is anathema to me, because, in my view, fiction is freedom and any restraints on that are intolerable.
Tennis: the most perfect combination of athleticism, artistry, power, style, and wit. A beautiful game, but one so remorselessly travestied by the passage of time.
The process of writing a novel is getting to know more about the novel until you know everything about it. And it's been described as a kind of dreamlike state where you're letting the novel make its own shape, and you're putting into it the pleasure of creation, which is intoxicating.
It's becoming clearer and clearer to me that the world is there to be celebrated by writers, and in fact this is what all the good ones do, and that the great fashion for gloom and grimness was in fact a false path that certain writers took, I think in response to the horrors of the first half of the twentieth century.
Novelists tend to go off at 70, and I'm in a funk about it, I've got myself into a real paranoid funk about it, how the talent dies before the body.
Language leads a double life - and so does the novelist. You chat with family and friends, you attend to your correspondence, you consult menus and shopping lists, you observe road signs, and so on. Then you enter your study, where language exists in quite another form - as the stuff of patterned artifice.
It's an ancient idea that the leader of a democracy should not be the cleverest but the most average. That's an arguable point, but the world has decided otherwise - except in America, where it still divides the country right down the middle.
All my adult life I have been searching for the right adjective to describe my father's peculiarly aggressive comic style. I recently settled on 'defamatory.'
I am, incidentally, the only writer to have received the Somerset Maugham award twice - the first time for my first novel, the second time for my second first novel.
Kingsley Amis was a lenient father. His paternal style, in the early years, can best be described as amiably minimalist - in other words, my mother did it all.
When I wrote 'The Pregnant Widow' three or four years ago, I tried to reread my first novel, 'The Rachel Papers,' because their young heroes are the same age. I couldn't finish it. It seemed to me so technically slapdash and weak.
Deciding to write a novel about something - as opposed to finding you are writing a novel around something - sounds to me like a good evocation of writer's block.
Everything seems fine until you're about 40. Then something is definitely beginning to go wrong. And you look in the mirror with your old habit of thinking, 'While I accept that everyone grows old and dies, it's a funny thing, but I'm an exception to that rule.'