You are here:
What, in relation to your writing, are you most proud of?
Starting with Day of the Jackal, I made considerable efforts to try and get the research into those passages that did genuinely refer to real events and people accurate. The ‘trick’ as then to interweave what really happened with what I invented to create an enigma for the reader: what to believe and what to recognise as fiction.
At what point in your life did you start to describe yourself as an author?
I do not recall that I ever suddenly decided to become ‘an author’ as opposed to a writer or novelist. Like some others, I started out as a journalist and have always used the same tactics for research and reportage as would be needed by a foreign correspondent reporting on what actually happened. So perhaps ‘very lucky journalist’ would be an apt description!
What did you buy with your first royalties cheque?
I do not recall any particular purchase or celebration with my first royalty cheque – probably a slap-up meal with my then fiancée, later wife.
What is the first crime story you remember reading?
As a boy I suspect my first crime story would be something by John Buchan, probably The Thirty-Nine Steps.
I married for the first time in 1973 and for the second time in 1996. By my first marriage there were two fine sons, Stuart and Shane, now both in their early forties. Stuart has three children and Shane one (so far). Unfortunately Stuart lives in Sweden and Shane is settling in Ibiza so I have to content myself with seeing the beaming faces of my grandchildren online. My wife and I live quietly in Buckinghamshire.
Before my breakthrough novel, Day of the Jackal, written in 1970, I was variously a pilot in the RAF, a journalist in the UK and a foreign correspondent for Reuter, BBC and freelance. I believe I have visited some 70 countries but am now quite content to be an old codger outside Beaconsfield.
I hope I can say I take a fairly light-hearted view of the fifty years since The Jackal and remain immensely grateful to whatever deity presides over me for the huge amount of good luck that has been visited upon me. Various bodies such as the Mystery Writers of America and the British CWA have been kind enough to give me awards and for these I remain equally grateful. For reasons I cannot explain I have never managed to excite any particular interest in three of the world’s greatest appetites – fame, power or money. I still managed to bank enough to enable me to live comfortably for the rest of my days, and that is all I ever wanted.
Join the CWA
Become part of a thriving community of successful crime writers with invaluable support, expertise and marketing opportunities for all our members.
Advertise with us