A. Local newspaper reporter, sub-editor, university lecturer
A. Girton College, University of Cambridge
A. It changes all the time but Vaughan Williams, Ravel and Debussy are on heavy rotation right now.
A. Alfred Hitchcock's Rebecca
A. I love British crime series - Morse, Waking the Dead, Silent Witness, all sadly now defunct but living on forever in DVD box sets. The Shadow Line by Hugo Blick was exceptional.
A. Live to write, write to live
A. Death or Glory
A. In this world, nothing can be perfect; but I'd settle for a family picnic at Calke Abbey, a good day in the Rare Books Room at the University Library, or riding my favourite horse up the meadow and looking down to see the clouds sweep across the valley where my husband is watching cricket on the village green.
A. Losing my loved ones
A. Taking family and friends to lunch at an authentic Italian restaurant
A. It's more than one person; elements in the character of Siegfried Sassoon, Vita Sackville-West and the French writer Colette all strike a chord with me.
A. Former intelligence supremo Dame Stella Rimington
A. I never got to know my grandparents. My father's parents died in the flu epidemic of 1918, and my mother's parents were a long way off in Wales
A. Ballet dancer.
A. My daughters
A. Lapses of self confidence
A. I'm extremely generous
A. A former SoE agent recalling her exploits in Occupied France
A. I'm an entertaining and compelling speaker.
A. Sherlock Holmes - brilliant, brave, fit. I don't have a favourite Holmes but Robert Downey Junior and Benedict Cumberbatch have done a brilliant job.
A. Gatehouse from The Shadow Line. That's if he really is a villain . . .
A. I would tell Anne Boleyn that her daughter turned out very well, all things considered.
A. Sluggish broadband
A. Horse-riding, dancing, swimming and cooking.
A. Honesty and intregity coupled with a humane understanding of human nature.
A. Let's say, one type of thing, and I'll go for Italian food.
A. Wish You Were Here (Pink Floyd), There Is a Light Which Never Goes Out (The Smiths) Tonight the Streets are Ours (Richard Hawley), Strauss's Four Last Songs and (cheating a bit here) the song cycle A Shropshire Lad
A. In no particular order: Marcel Proust, Colette, Vladimir Nabokov, P D James, A E Houseman
A. I Capture The Castle (Dodie Smith), Bleak House (Charles Dickens) A Study in Scarlet (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle), Rebecca (Daphne du Maurier) Love in a Cold Climate (Nancy Mitford)
A. I really enjoy dipping into the Oxford Book of Quotations
A. Believe in yourself and shoot your inner critic.
A. There were so many fascinating people in your book
A. Bedlam has fascinated me ever since I discovered Hogarth's famous engraving of the rake's progress. I wanted to examine what conditions were really like for London's mad over the centuries, and how madness had run like a watermark through the history of London. What I discovered were the stories of the famous - George III, Swift - and the infamous, such as Margaret Nicholson, who tried to assassinate George III, and the psychotic artist Richard Dadd, who murdered his own father and painted masterpieces in Broadmoor. It's been a long, rich, tragic but sometimes inspiring journey, especially when viewing the lives of mental health survivors such as Antonia White, author of 'Frost in May' and the enlightened doctors who came to her aid.