Neville Conway was formerly consultant cardiologist at the
Wessex Regional Cardiac Centre, Southampton.
He published two medical books, and fifty scientific papers and leaders. For five years he was associate editor of the British Heart Journal, and was an invited English language editor to the proceedings of two world congresses.
He writes novels, non-fiction and poetry. A short story won First Prize some years ago at the Southampton Writers' Conference.
My primary purpose is to write
literary, as opposed to genre fiction, though as you can see, I have
written poetry and non-fiction too. But
that means each novel is different from the rest. If one pleases
you, the next may not. I write, at least I have so far, from a
single viewpoint, in the first person. The advantages of this method
are well known; immediacy, and ease of narration. The official
disadvantage, that the reader has no direct insight into what other
characters think, is not, in my view, the drawback it seems. We all
have one pair of eyes, and one understanding. That is how we relate
to the world. Does it stop us from knowing what others feel? No. We
are obliged to make what we can of how they react to us, whether
they lie, and we know it, or tell the truth, and we misinterpret it.
From such a palette a multi-layered story is produced as easily –
and I think, more convincingly – as by the double artificiality of
allowing several narrators to have their say.
Therefore, each novel of mine has a ‘voice’. That voice, and the character who uses it, determines not just the subject of the novel, but its tone, style, language, and vocabulary. Thus, my first novel is an uptight tragedy; my second an exuberant satire in a tragic setting (though not to the narrator); my third a soufflé of a self-aware comedy of manners; my fourth a fundamentally serene novel of self discovery, despite its frame of racial antagonism. You may even feel that each one has a different author. If so, that will be a compliment, although certain tricks of mine are bound to show through. I have two more novels on the stocks, which I hope will come to life in the same way.