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"The Dog Who Came in from the Cold: A Corduroy Mansions Novel," by Alexander McCall Smith

Alexander McCall Smith, The Dog Who Came in from the Cold
Pantheon & Schocken Books

Jeff Glor talks to Alexander McCall Smith about "The Dog Who Came in from the Cold."

Jeff Glor: What inspired you to write the book?

Alexander McCall: When I started writing serial novels in newspapers six years ago, I had no idea that the whole business would rapidly become addictive. My initial foray into this genre of fiction began after a conversation with Armistead Maupin, author of "Tales of the City," which was a saga of life in San Francisco that ran to several volumes. Armistead did not exactly encourage me to do what he had done; indeed, he said that he had no desire to go back to that particular grindstone. But the idea was implanted of starting a daily novel set in Edinburgh, and a few months later I embarked on "44 Scotland Street." After five years of producing a chapter a day for six months of the year, I decided to give Edinburgh a rest for a while and start a tale set in London. Corduroy Mansions, published each day in the online edition of the London newspaper The Daily Telegraph, was the result. Like any true addict of any activity, once was not enough. After six months of Corduroy Mansions, I felt that I could not leave my characters where they were, half way through a conversation that I was enjoying so much. So I took the decision to return to the lives of these everyday Pimlico people and write another volume, "The Dog Who Came in from the Cold."

JG: What surprised you the most during the writing process?

AM: I was surprised by a number of events that occurred in the plot that I had not envisaged before I started writing!

JG: What would you be doing if you weren't a writer?

AM: I used to be a university professor, and I suspect I would still be doing that.

JG: What else are you reading right now?

AM: At the moment I am reading "Proust was a Neuroscientist" by Jonah Lehrer.

JG: What's next for you?

AM: I write four or five novels a year, and so I shall be moving on to the next one, which is the next book in "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" series. This will be published in the USA next spring.

For more on "The Dog Who Came in from the Cold," visit the Random House Group website.