Some Questions Answered

When did you start to write?
Late. 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.

How long does it take to write a book?
About 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

Where do you get your ideas from?
All 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.

What 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.

How else do you spend your time?
With 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.


With grateful thanks to Paul Ashley for all his help in encouraging this website and Fernhart New Media for producing it.