Officially speaking, I’m a novelist. But I’m really in the sleep disruption business. While it is gratifying when a reader or reviewer provides thoughtful analysis of my books’ themes or ideas or techniques, I always remind myself that the true test of the reading experience (or at least the true test for my reading) is excitement. Does the book in your hand race the heart, get under the skin? And notice the physical aspect that invariably arises when it comes to page-turning metaphors? It’s because a good book (thrilling or quiet, high-brow literary or neanderthal pulp) has to work on the body.
I have had the honour of readers reporting to me lost (or partly lost) nights of sleep at the hands of my books. Nothing delights me more than to hear of lights left on through the night, or altered dreams as a character wriggles into a reader’s slumber-thoughts.
So as The Guardians toddles (creeps?) out into the world, I’d love to know if anyone out there stays up late to finish one of its chapters…then stays up a bit later still to push the events of that chapter out of their head. Tell me if I’ve passed the sleep disruption test.