WHAT IS HARDEST – GETTING PUBLISHED, WRITING OR MARKETING?
Until independent publishing took off I would definitely say the hardest task was getting published. It seemed to be a chicken and egg situation. No agent, no publisher. No publisher, no agent. I was extremely fortunate in that I had a successful author who became so excited by my research when I showed it to him that he immediately called his publisher to tell him he must publish the book. The publisher, Tom Maschler of Jonathan Cape, needed no persuasion. He became hooked and was 100% supportive and certain it would become a best-seller. I hadn’t actually written a word, I had no agent and yet here I was talking to a top publisher who was more excited than I was! Now, these days, with the growth of independent publishing, it is easy to publish a book. The hard part is marketing it. I think one needs to be very tech savvy and familiar with all the social networks to make a success of it. Unfortunately I am neither.
IF YOU COULD HAVE A DINNER PARTY AND INVITE ANYONE – DEAD OR ALIVE – WHO WOULD YOU INVITE AND WHY?
For the living guests I would invite Rachel Maddow because I love politics and I would dearly love to have been a political journalist. And Maddow is simply the best and brightest of all of them all today.
I would invite Imelda Marcos (former First Lady of the Philippines) because I have written scathingly about her numerous times in the past. I feel I owe her at least a decent dinner for never having had me thrown in gaol or had me assassinated as was the fate of many of her other enemies. And, let’s face it she is very entertaining.
I would invite Eddie Izzard because he has the funniest one-liners in the business and would poke fun at Imelda and keep us in hysterics the whole night and, thus, prevent the conversation from ever becoming too serious.
For guests who have died, I would love to have met the writer, adventurist, diplomat, great English eccentric and my secret heroine, Gertrude Bell who felt equally at home “sitting in a palace with Kings as she did squatting with nomads in a tent in the desert.” I feel equally at ease in all these situations too so would be fascinated to meet her and listen to her and exchange notes.
My next guest would be Oscar Wilde, also known for his one-liners, his acerbic wit and his irreverence. It would be delightful to hear his views on the current marriage equality laws.
And my final guest would have to be, of course, Stephen Ward. I have often wondered how he would react to someone who has taken five years out of her life to prove to the world that he was innocent of all charges and who is still working towards having his conviction overturned.
DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS HOW WRITERS CAN RELAX?
I would advise not to put yourself under too much pressure. Unless you are writing to a deadline, don’t feel you have to finish the article or the book until you are ready to do so. Too many times in the past I have forced myself to finish an article for no other reason than I want to move on to the next project. Just remember the next project can always wait. Write at a pace that suits you. Be gentle, kind and respectful to yourself.
WHAT COLOUR REPRESENTS YOUR PERSONALITY THE MOST?
Green is my colour. It is the colour of the environment in which I live. It is a restful and reassuring colour. I love trees. I love open meadows. I love savannahs stretching out into the horizon. I love the Spring when suddenly, after the drab months of winter, everything becomes green and hopeful, heralding the long, hot summer. Green is definitely my colour.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE MEAL?
My favourite meal has to be a hot bowl of vegetable curry with steamed rice followed by organic 75% dark chocolate. I’m not sure that they would really go together, I’ve never actually tried the combination. But, individually, they are my favourite foods so surely that would mean together they would make my favourite meal?
“How the English Establishment Framed Stephen Ward” is a major expose of a government cover-up that has lasted half a century. It is a powerful story of sexual compulsion, political malice and ultimate betrayal. A number-one bestseller when it came out in 1987 under its original title, “An Affair of State”, the book reveals never-before-heard testimony that has been uncovered by the authors in the years since the scandal broke. Using startling new evidence, including Ward’s own unpublished memoirs and hundreds of interviews with many who, conscience-stricken, have now spoken out for the first time, this important account rips through a half-century cover-up in order to show exactly why the government, the police forces, the Judiciary and the security forces decided to frame Stephen Ward. Stephen Ward is now the subject of an upcoming Andrew Lloyd-Weber musical and this book offers a wider perspective on its complex, central character as well as a broader insight into one of the greatest scandals of the past 100 years. As the authors’ research reveals, Ward’s “trial of the century” was caused by an unprecedented corruption of justice and political malice which resulted in an innocent man becoming a scapegoat for those who could not bear to lose power. This is an epic tale of sex, lies, and governmental abuse whose aftermath almost brought down the government and shook the American, British, and Soviet espionage worlds to their core. With its surprising revelations and meticulous research, Ward’s complete story can finally be told.
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Genre – Politics, Espionage, Scandal
Rating – PG-16
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