Q. Which other EAFOL 2016 participant are you most excited about?
There are so many fantastic writers in next year’s EAFOL, I could not possibly chose between them. It is going to be a particular pleasure to meet fellow writers from the Middle East.
Q. What books are you reading now?
I am reading Elizabeth Bowen’s The Heat of the Day for my London book club. Also, I have just had a fantastic binge on E.F. Benson’s Mapp and Lucia novels. I am just now putting the finishing touches to my own latest novel, The House at Bishopsgate, (the third and concluding part of The Aviary Gate trilogy), and after a hard day’s editing they are the most blissful light relief.
Q. Which literary character would you invite for dinner, and why?
If you would allow me an historical character, rather than a literary one, I would choose the eighteenth century Whig politician Charles James Fox. I have had a massive crush on him ever since I wrote about his mistress (and later wife) Elizabeth Armistead in my book Courtesans.
Q. Which word would you remove?
Moist. The most dismal word in the English language. Off with its head.
Q. Who would illustrate the story of my life?
I would love to have been painted by Goya. His portraits have a psychological acuity, and an extraordinary generosity of spirit, which are unequalled. Every portrait tells a thousand tales.