[. . .] "I'm fundamentally a storyteller, not a literary person, if I can make that distinction. If I wrote a story that had enough vigour and life to pass into common currency and be recounted by people who had no idea that I was the author, nothing would give me greater pleasure."The complete interview here.
[. . .]
"It's a foolish thing for the teller of a story to answer critics. If you're putting forward an argument, you can argue back and demonstrate why your argument is better than theirs. But if someone doesn't like a story you've written, what are you going to say? ‘Well, you should'?"
[. . .]
"I dislike his (C.S. Lewis's) Narnia books because of the solution he offers to the great questions of human life: is there a God, what is the purpose, all that stuff, which he really does engage with pretty deeply, unlike Tolkien who doesn't touch it at all. ‘The Lord of the Rings' is essentially trivial. Narnia is essentially serious, though I don't like the answer Lewis comes up with. If I was doing it at all, I was arguing with Narnia. Tolkien is not worth arguing with." [. . .]
Do trawl through the comments and discussion at the end of the interview — there's much to be gleaned from them.