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I am a writer - late developer since I wasn't published until I was 50. I have now written 23 novels, numerous short stories and articles.

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Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Nearly every writer I know has a theme or themes which they return to time and time again.  Mine are consistent and have their roots in my own life.
First is my dislike of the class system which pervades this country. We are constantly being told that it no longer exists, that we live in an egalitarian society.  I beg to differ.  There are changes, of course, and it might not be as rigid as it was in my youth, but instead of disappearing, like an amoeba it  grows and other strata evolve to encompass our altering society.  Add now an elite and an underclass. 
       This stems from my experiences of life as a working class girl who married into the aristocracy and I still bear the scars.



 Second is my interest in the effect which moving someone out of their familiar  environment and placing them into a different one has on an individual. 
     My childhood home  was a terraced house but from the age of two to seven I lived in a stately home.  Even though I was on the servants side of the green baize door, I knew the other side and I loved it.
Then there is rejection - social and personal.  Both of which I am familiar with but the fascination lies in how do various people deal with it?

Fourth is how money, or rather the lack of it, or a surfeit of it, affects an  individual.  I have been poor and rich and have observed the destruction of great wealth on people.

 Sometimes I set out to use one of these themes or all of them.  Distinctions of Class which encompasses all, Love the Bright Foreigner which looks at money. The Cult and On Call both of which have none of them.  But often what happens is I start a story and they creep in as if by accident.
The Visitor is such a book.  I had been asked by my publishers to write an historical novel.  I was staying on Dartmoor and was so entranced by the scenery and comfortable in my friends’ centrally heated house, I began to wonder what life would have been like for the very poor on the moor in  Victorian  times.  But, the themes sneaked in and changed the whole structure of the book and I was back with class, money, displacement and rejection - all of them in fact.

 I hope you enjoy this tale of Phoebe who is the visitor and whom I grew to love.

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