CNN has an interview with Susanna Clarke, author of the 2004 best seller Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. I am reading it now. It is interesting but VERY thick, 800 pages.
The article describes how Clarke, an avid but unsuccessful writer, came to create the book.
Clarke's literary career was rescued by an illness that led her to reread J.R.R. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, books she had loved as a child.
"When I'd finished, it sort of made sense to try writing a fantasy novel, a book about magic, because those were the kinds of novels I'd really loved when I was a child and a teenager," she said...Clarke labored on the book for 10 years while working as a cookbook editor for publisher Simon & Schuster.
So many of my avid readers are drawn to fantasy literature. Clarke thinks she knows why...
"I also think that fantastic stories tend to be associated with strong storytelling. And I think publishers and critics have underestimated in recent years how much readers love strong stories. Narrative may have been out of fashion for a while, but readers love them."
Very interesting article, read the whole thing.