An earlier report on debutant authors in The Guardian, that one overlooked, is fascinating in that it makes those rarefied creatures come across as so...regular. Nick Harkaway (The Gone Away World), son of John Le Carre, says anxiously, "Can you make me look cool? In family photographs, I'm always standing at the edge looking like the country cousin." Mohammed Hanif (A Case of Exploding Mangoes) reveals, "My son would try to read bits over my shoulder while I was writing the book. I think he got bored because it took me two years. He would say, 'Are you still writing that mangoes book?' " Joe Dunthorne (Submarine) says, "Saying I'm a writer is one of the most uncomfortable things. You can't help but feel you are showing off." And, in a confession sure to gladden the hearts of Mumbai's commuters with literary aspirations, Lucie Whitehouse (The House at Midnight) says that her novel was written over six years, mainly on the train to work. Come on now, all of you who're reading this: you can do it, too.