Iain Sinclair
Sinclair's novel Landor's Tower is released this week.

Landor's Tower plays by its own rules. It's a real challenge to the reader. "It's been a hard sell over here [in the U.K.]. People aren't used to dealing with dense, literary stuff anymore. I have no idea how it'll be received in the States."

The book takes place in the Welsh countryside. Where did your interest in this area come from? "Probably because I grew up in Wales, not far from where Landor takes place. Over time, the desire to write about this area nagged away at me, hung around in the back of my mind. So I kept making trips up there and walking about, accumulating material, collecting scrapbooks of different ideas, but without a structure to put them all together."

And then the double-narrative idea came to you. "Yes, I fell on this 'two-sides-of-the-Bristol-Channel' idea, so there'd be an English story about conspiracy and paranoia, and a Welsh story about memory and place."

Landor moves between fantastic and autobiographical sections. Did you intend to do this, or was that a natural evolution of the story? "I had a huge quantity of clippings and scraps gathered over a long period of time, as well as books of photographs and articles, and from that I basically storyboarded it, coming up with the structure of three parts, with the third part to be much more of a simpler construction than the first two, so that when you get to the end, the autobiographical elements seem real, and aren't just serving the fantastical elements of the story."

You started primarily as a poet? "Yes, it wasn't until I was in my 40s that I really started publishing fiction."

Too old to be the "hot young author." "Yes! It's pretty strange. Novelty is the big thing. The flavor of the season is to have someone young and interesting."

You've also been a publisher. "Yes, I ran a small company called Albion Village Press, which published poetry and strange, speculative essays."

In the spirit of William Blake, no doubt. "We actually live on a road called Albion Drive, and Blake is buried about a mile from us."

Hopefully Blake's ghost hovers over you. "Well, hopefully yes! He's the godfather of all this."

Interview by Michael Shilling.

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