Added on 16 January 2008
I was wondering if Conspiracy Theory was one of those subjects which you can now do for GCSE at school or if there's one of those neophyte universities offering it at degree level in the UK. Wouldn't be surprised. Conspiracy Theory sounds like a real subject, like Chaos Theory or Quantum Theory. But would the government allow it, given that most conspiracies involve government?

Is it overly conspiratorial to suggest that it's a government conspiracy that you can't study conspiracy theory at school?

I have fallen into a decent rhythm with Lost in Juarez, writing in the morning, doing a couple of hours research in the afternoon. In this case, as with most writers these days I expect, research involves trailing through the internet. The internet is not short of conspiracy theorists and their theories. A couple of weeks ago I received an e-mail directing me the way of a site from the north of Scotland, which pretty much covers the bases on government/police state conspiracy, and which informs you at the very bottom of the long home page that you've just contravened several clauses of anti-terror legislation by even looking at the site. Very rock 'n roll.

Since I have my central character doing the same kind of thing that I'm doing, and he's writing the same kind of book within the book that I'm writing, the lines are becoming blurred. The constant Bob Dylan isn't helping. (As I write, Idiot Wind is whining its way angrily out of the Mac.) The biggest difference is that he has four ex-wives, in part due to Bob, whereas I'm still managing to hang on to mine. I suspect she secretly enjoys the six-hours-of-Bob-a-day thing that she has to put up with.

Actually, I suspect no such thing. She hates it, I know she hates it, she knows I know she hates it. And yet I still put it on...

Is it inevitable that so much of the writer's id comes out in the central character? I don't really know any other writers, so can't ask. For me, in the Barney Thomson series, Barney started off as this miserable, football-hating, pessimistic, chip-on-the-shoulder muppet. This isn't how I see myself, although with the exception of the football-hating thing, maybe others do. By now, six books later, Barney is, however, just a mirror of how I see myself. Although he is much better able to comport himself in a stressful situation, much cooler, perhaps the person I want to see when I look in the mirror.

Not sure about Lake Weston yet, as he's obviously not Barney Thomson. Different aspects to the fore of the same character, possibly. It's an interesting process.

Also enjoying the thought and process that someone can be addicted to Bob Dylan in the way they can be addicted to alcohol or scratch cards.