Q. What are the major influences on your writing?
A. I have read all my life, and a complete list of every author, whose writing has thrilled or educated me (or both), would carry on for many pages. I assume every one of these has influenced me in some way, either subliminally or otherwise.
However, in an attempt to provide a summary of my favourites, here they are by category:
- history: Paul Johnson, Daniel J. Boorstin, Barbara Tuchman, Gregor Dallas,
- crime: Scott Turow, Agatha Christie, Martin Cruz Smith, P.D. James
- fantasy and mystical worlds: Jorge Luis Borges, Italo Calvino, Umberto Eco; and
- autobiography: Robert Caro, Antonia Fraser.
If I had to narrow the list down further, I’d have to mention in particular:
- John Irving: (for his telling of a long, involved and wonderfully satisfying story),
- Laurie Lee (for his poetic memoirs and sketches of place and time)
- Anthony Trollope (for his character sketches and profiles); and
- Robert B. Parker (for his crisp, snappy dialogue).
And I will be forever grateful to the authors (and illustrators) of all the books I read as a child that entranced and influenced me in untold ways: Lewis Carrol, C.S. Lewis, Edith Nesbit, J.R.R. Tolkien, George Remi (Hergé), to name but a few.
Q. Where and when do you write?
A. Whenever and wherever I can. I have written at home, in libraries, shopping malls and on cruise ships, and at all hours of the day. This series was written over the course of many years, and during this time we lived in 4 different houses or apartments, and travelled from Canada to Australia via Europe and back, much of the trip taken by ship. I wrote constantly during these years.
Q. What is in your collection of books?
A. Here are some photos of one of my bookshelves:
More ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ will be added, as they arrive.