“I’m sorry that we, as a literary culture, seem to be losing faith in the omniscient narrator. People say, “Oh, I need to know who’s telling the story, otherwise I don’t know what to believe. I don’t know whether to believe it at all.” And another thing we see more and more of is the bloody present tense. I hate books written in the present tense! I refuse to read them. Actually, no, I don’t refuse to read them, because there have been some very fine books written in the present tense, and by design I might have used the present tense. But I think it’s kind of an abdication of narrative responsibility, because we know it’s not happening now, and she’s not coming downstairs now and looking out the window now. It’s already happened! It’s been written about and printed!
This pretense that it’s happening now is a silly thing which I can’t abide, and I use every opportunity to bore people to death by telling them about it.
Oh, I’m perfectly happy to be at the vulgar end. I’m with G. K. Chesterton on this. He said that literature was a luxury but fiction was a necessity. We can’t live without fiction, and I’m very happy to supply the thing that we can’t live without. If that puts me in the company of Dwayne (the Rock) Johnson and Lee Child, I don’t mind a bit.”