did you start to write?
I was thirty and teaching a class of so-called 'remedial' children
who had nothing to read that grabbed them. The stories I wrote for
them weren't much good - but a publisher saw them and treated me
as an author, and I responded by becoming one.
long does it take to write a book?
a year for a novel. Shorter books vary. Every novel starts slowly,
a bit now and again, some research, some thinking, some trying things
out - gathering momentum till the writing of the end becomes furious
if not fast
do you get your ideas from?
around me. One of the advantages of living a hectic life in one
of the world's busiest cities is that there's no shortage of drama
and excitement around me. Sometimes comedy, sometimes - sadly -
tragedy. I never use the people I know, but certain themes recur
in relationships. In the creation of characters I use bits of various
people. Hitting on the right name for a character is a great help,
like the right costume is to an actor.
are your hobbies?
Theatre – everything from Shakespeare to pantomime. If writing
hadn’t become my hobby years ago I would have acted and directed
in amateur theatre. As it is I am now a producer with a small professional
company, Ashley Chappel Productions. I also like watching football (Tottenham Hotspur)
and going to concerts. My liking of travel is often satisfied by
doing research for one of my stories.
I have to get it right! If I say this London bus takes you there
you can depend on it being right. And if you can trust me in the
practical things I hope you can trust me emotionally, too.
else do you spend your time?
my family. There’s no better sound in all the world than the
family laughing, and I’m so grateful that all the family –
including the grandchildren – have got great senses of humour.
grateful thanks to Paul Ashley for all his help in encouraging this
website and Fernhart New Media for producing it.