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Q&A with Christie Watson, Author of Moral Injuries

Q&A with Christie Watson, Author of Moral Injuries

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Christie Watson is the author of Moral Injuries.

Christie Watson is a professor of medical humanities at UEA, and worked as an NHS nurse for over twenty years. She has written six books, including her first novel, Tiny Sunbirds Far Away, which won the Costa First Novel Award, and the memoir, The Language of Kindness, which was a number one Sunday Times bestseller. Christie is a contributor to the Times, the Sunday Times, the Guardian, the Telegraph, and TEDx, and her work has been translated into twenty-three languages and adapted for theatre.

Her latest novel Moral Injuries is a high-stakes literary thriller following three best friends since medical school and the twenty-five-year-old secret that now threatens to shatter their lives.

Let’s get to know Christie as she talks favorite novels, the influence of her healthcare background on writing, TBR list and more!

What are some of your favorite novels?
Toni Morrison’s Beloved is one of my most beloved novels, and I go back to it often. The language is beautiful and it’s dripping in meaning. I love re-reading Classics and poetry, but most of the books on my nightstand are contemporary fiction these days. I’ve just read Chris Whitaker’s All the Colours of the Dark which was particularly gripping and I loved Barbara Kingsolver’s Demon Copperhead (The Poisonwood Bible remains a firm favourite). I try and read debuts whenever I can, and Alice Winn’s In Memoriam one of the best I’ve read for years. 
When did you know you wanted to become an author?

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t know I wanted to write. I was forever reading books. I was hit by a car around the age of ten reading a book while crossing the road, and literature was banned in my house for a while! Luckily it was a minor scrape, but once I realised books could be dangerous, I was even more hooked. I loved reading and storytelling but didn’t start writing properly until the age of thirty, when I was on maternity leave. I wrote a short story that became a book, and haven’t stopped since then. 
How does your healthcare background influence the stories you write?

I’m Professor of Medical Humanities at UEA in the UK so much of my time is thinking about healthcare and the impact and meaning of illness and disability. Before then I spent twenty years or so working as a nurse in the NHS. I’m sure nursing is part of the fabric that makes me, and setting fiction in the world of a hospital felt to me like coming home. 
Tell us what inspired you to write Moral Injuries?

The characters started talking to me first. I imagined Olivia, Anjali and Laura and how different the women were, bound by medicine and friendship as well as secrets. Medicine is a language with many different accents and workplace where people from every background become close friends. I wanted to write collages and women’s friendship at work, and present doctors who – like all the doctors I know – are not heroes or angels or Gods – but simply people doing their very best, as complex and flawed as the rest of us. Maybe, because of the nature of the job, a bit more so. 
What makes a morally grey character?
Aren’t we all?
What are you currently reading and what’s on your TBR (to be read) list?

Currently reading Butter by Asako Yuzuki. It deserves the hype. And on my TBR list is a never ending pile of proofs that I’m lucky enough to be sent by publishers looking for a blurb… I have a holiday coming soonish visiting Spain and I will be talking as many books as I can fit in my case. Heaven.