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I haven't the faintest interest in the private lives of authors I don't know personally, even those whose novels I adore. In fact, the less I know the better. (Real people are so disappointing.) My near-total indifference to where they went to school, what their favourite colour is, and what they eat for breakfast extends to musicians, actors, film directors, and visual artists. Call me a materialist, but I want product. 

A purist of sorts, I don't want that product contaminated even by its source of inspiration. Whether a character is based on someone in the author's life doesn't matter to me a jot; I care only that the character lives on the page. With fiction, extraneous information about the writer's antagonism with his mother simply interferes with the imaginary universe into which I wish to enter as innocently as possible.

Consequently, I've no understanding of why anyone would want to read articles published in baffling quantity: profiles of me.

Critics are divided on the importance of literary biography (obviously I don't read books about F. Scott Fitzgerald, either). But let's put aside examination of the late-great. Contemporary poking into the private affairs of live writers is less motivated by an august, academic desire to better explore a complex, culturally significant text, and more driven by a lower-rent nosiness, voyeurism, and appetite for celebrity gossip.

Publicists are keen to promote authors as well as their books, and in having capitulated to pressure to give any number of interviews I've been a hypocrite. Should I continue to have no integrity whatsoever, as seems saddeningly likely, I will keep giving interviews. But I reject the authorial profile in principle. It's hard enough to write a decent novel without also having to craft a whole other character outside the book, Your Author, like a tie-in promotional T-shirt. 

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