1. What sign where you born under?Pisces. March 15th. Ides of March. The day Julius Caesar got his. Don’t believe that2. How would you describe yourself in three words?
stuff anyhow. I mean Pisceans are supposed to be indecisive and I’m definitely not.
Aren't I?Shy, timid, show off.3. What kind of person where you at school?Awkward, lazy, contrary, funny, repressed and dreamy.4. What was the first thing you wrote that went into print?Aged about twenty two I wrote a priggish letter to the local paper saying that5. What’s the best part about being an author?
popular theatre shouldn’t get subsidies. What’s the word I’m looking for to describe myself at that age?
Berk.Typing “The End”6. The worst part?Five seconds later thinking - What now for God’s sake?7. Is there a book you read as a child that you still read?What, Children’s Book? I suppose- Just William by Richmal Crompton. Work of comic genius.
8. How long have you been writing?Ah, the statistical question. On and off about 45 years; more off than on actually.9. What would you like to change about yourself?Plenty but a bit late now. A better brain would do nicely thank you.10. What do you do to cheer yourself up.Sleep.11. What’s your favourite food?Christmas dinner.12. Describe your ideal day.Wake up to sunshine. Ah where am I? Ah Italy. Brekky on the balcony. Light and shadow. Old and beautiful buildings all about me and the sound of that lovely language drifting up. For some reason the locals think Juventus are going to beat Everton in the Champions League Final. What a pleasure to see them proved wrong. Swim. drink wine and eat out of doors in the warm evening surrounded by witty chums. Just as we get to the pudding course a telegram arrives from publisher pleading that they can republish all my out of print novels even though what they have to pay me will almost bankrupt them . Ah, here comes that Sophia Loren woman who’s always pestering me.
13. If you hadn’t been a writer what d’you think you’d have done?Continued working in a Teacher Training College. And enjoying it too.14. Who’s your favourite comedian?Tommy Cooper.15. What do you never leave the house without?Front door keys, reading glasses, wallet, trousers.16. Who’s your writer’s writer?Writer’s writer? Tough. I think most of all, Shakepeare could most dance away with it.17. What makes you laugh?Real life, I suppose. And art, when it comes closest to it.18. What is your favourite fantasy?‘Excuse me, I know I’m just an empty headed eighteen year old girl with big breasts but aren’t you Gareth Owen the Booker winning author who scored that brilliant last minute goal in last year’s Cup Final and starred in that Oscar winning film that you not only wrote and directed but starred in?’
19. Have you ever run away from home?Sure thing. Aged two and a half - leapt onto the electric train when the doors said ‘Open Sesame’ and travelled about twenty miles in the general direction of Liverpool. The trouble and anxiety I caused to my parents, the police and the rail service was terrible. So I did it again. And again and…20. What about accidents?Aged thirteen stole out with friends one midnight and walked two miles to remove a door and attempted to sail down the river on it. Sank two yards from the bank. Should have been a warning not to join the navy. But then I did of course and promptly fell off a mast in Buenos Aires sustaining a triple skull fracture and broken wrist.21. What person from the past would you most like to meet.
My memory’s been terrible ever since.Lord Byron. Well not meet actually, be too awe struck. But just to be there unobserved. Under the supper table watching him swing his shiny boots and talking, talking. and me scribbling it all down. Every time I read about Hobhouse, Moore and the rest flinging his memoirs on the fire I want to scream and stretch out my hand and rescue them. There was a crime.22. What was your favourite book as a child?Black Beauty.23. Favourite t.v programme?Match of the Day. The Larry Saunders Show.24. What is the most important lesson that life has taught you?It’s always worth paying extra for good jam.25. Where do you do your writing?Used to write anywhere/any table, any chair. But I have a bedroom now that I’ve made into a study.26. Do you have any regrets?Regrets? Would like to have known my mother.27. When ten what was your ambition?To play inside right for Everton and England.28. What book by other children’s writers do you most admire?Don’t read children’s books much but enjoyed Roald Dahl’s "Mathilda" and "The Shrinking of Treehorn".29. What’s the best book you’ve read about childhood?Best book about childhood I ever read was "There is a Happy Land" by Keith Waterhouse.30. Advice to writers.Have talent, read, observe, keep at it, be lucky and tell it true.
From "Author Zone"