“A thing of mine is to fall in love with one of my characters,” Lynne Truss divulges. “In Eats, Shoots and Leaves it was a colon.”
I’m hoping my grammar is all present and correct in this piece. I am a student of the eighties, after all, when sentence structure and spelling weren’t paid any attention.
But the book of grammar pedantry that made her a best seller wasn’t the main topic of conversation. Lynne loves writing for actors: “It’s my favourite thing.” She finds it hard to describe her latest novel (and the first one in fifteen years) so instead reads us a monologue, The Wife, she wrote for Radio Four, broadcast back in 2007.
It’s the kind of drama that works on the BBC – downtrodden wife, overly concerned about life’s trivial, very middle class. But I really like it because it has got a great sense of humour, absurdity in the mundane, and it has poignancy both for Henny, the eponymous Wife, and Steve, the husband. Henny has been held back, bullied if you like by Steve, but Steve is equally a prisoner of his own neurosis. And it helps that Lynne reads very well.
In the Q & A session I find out she was a sports writer, a very unlikely one by her own admission. She stuck out football reporting for four years until the blokiness finally got to her.
And of her newish book, Cat Out of Hell? I can’t tell you if the cat survives, she says, but you should worry about Watson the dog.