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David Mitchell 'germinated novel idea for ten years'

20th April 2010

British author David Mitchell says the idea for his forthcoming novel first emerged a decade ago.

In an interview with The Times, the writer said that the first inspiration for The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet, which is set in Japan in 1799, struck him before he wrote his 1999 debut Ghostwritten.

However, the writing process has not been easy, requiring a number of revisions.

'The idea was in my notebook for about ten years before it got to the front of the queue. Once I'd started the book, I wrote it four times,' he explained.

Mitchell also told the newspaper that it was only when working on the third draft of the novel that he decided to abandon his customary first-person perspective approach in favour of the third person.

The author did retain a number of his other trademark writing techniques, such as picturing his stories as film scenes to heighten their visual appeal.

Writing recently in the Guardian, William Skidelsky claimed that The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet could be Mitchell's 'most ambitious book yet'.

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