How did you come to be a writer?
When I was eight years old I had a gifted schoolteacher called Mr Rose at Coldcotes Junior Boys School in Leeds . He read White Fang by Jack London to the class and I asked him how I could become a writer. He said, ‘Go to Compton Road Library and read everything you can.’ So the journey began.
However, it wasn’t until I retired that I found the TIME to give it my best. I had spent a lifetime living my stories - now I have the opportunity to write them.
What is it about writing that you most enjoy?
Creating a world in which truth and happiness reign.
Where is Ragley-on-the-Forest?
Ragley village is based on the beautiful cluster of villages in North Yorkshire at the foot of the Hambleton Hills. In particular, the lovely grass-lined main street of Sutton-on-the-Forest to the north of York was my inspiration for Ragley’s High Street.
Are the characters based on real people?
The characters are largely a figment of my imagination. Although I’m sure many readers will recognise some of the humorous characteristics in people they know.
What is your favourite novel?
Without doubt - Lord of the Rings. I read it every five years as a treat. I lay out the map and follow Frodo’s journey.
Who are your favourite authors?
Apart from J R R Tolkien, I’m also a big fan of Isaac Asimov, Kate Atkinson, Jane Austen, Alan Bennett, Bill Bryson, Lee Child, Bernard Cornwell, Michael Crichton, Charles Dickens, Ben Elton, Ken Follett, Thomas Hardy, Joanne Harris, Conn Igglesdun, C S Lewis, Lesley Pearse, Philip Pullman, Manda Scott, Anita Shreve, Dora Saint (Miss Read), C. J. Sansom, Simon Scarrow, Tom Sharpe, Sue Townsend and H G Wells . . . so you see I have eclectic tastes!
Do you have any ambitions that you would love to fulfil?
I should like to play just one more game of rugby, ski a blue run without falling down and grow perfect raspberries.
Where is your favourite place?
I have three. York Minster on New Year’s Eve, Headingley Cricket Ground on a summer’s day (when Yorkshire are winning) and Sydney Harbour at dawn on an April morning.
How do you relax?
That’s easy. I read, garden, build walls, go to the theatre, watch cricket and rugby, and visit places of historical interest.