A. Editor, director, producer
A. My working life has never felt like a job - but I've liked most bits of what I've done (though some of it has been tough!)
A. I went to 13 or 14 schools all over the world. But ended up in Adelaide, South Australia for my last couple of years at school. And did a drama and English degree at Flinders University.
A. Can't beat Beethoven
A. Just too many to name. But American Beauty comes close. Casino ain't bad too...
A. The Tudors. Very sad it's over
A. Many lives, one mind, one body
A. Never trust a sword to a man who can't dance
A. Unconditional love. Giving and receiving. The moment a small child says "I love you." for the first time. And every time. Being truly forgiven. Being accepted. Laughter around a table stocked with friends. Sharing of food and wine on a cold night: the storm outside, you inside, safe and warm and cherished. A perfect morning, nothing but bird song and a soft wind. Writing "The End."
A. Loneliness. Aloneness.
A. Which world?
A. Elizabeth 1st of England. What a life. What a woman! Mind you, Edward IV, her grandfather, comes a close 2nd.
A. That's a big call. I like the quiet people - the ones you find out, later, have done extraordinary things but didn't think to tell you...
A. Don't know about mine, but I just hate the over-use of the word "Appropriate"!
A. Not being a better mother
A. I would, instantly, like to speak the following languages: French, German, Czech, any Norwegian language, Mandarin, Japanese etc and be able to make jokes, and also write elegantly in that language
A. Keeping my head, sometimes, when all around were losing theirs and blaming it on me (thank you Rudyard.) That, and a little thing called Motherhood.
A. Where do I start? Sit down, this will take a while...
A. Elizabeth 1. What a star she was.
A. I'm noisy. That's odd, in a novelist.
A. Today? A number of the Norse Gods. Particularly drawn to Thor.
A. Loki. The shape-shifter.
A. My grandparents. We moved around so much I didn't ever know them. I'd ask my father's father to explain what courage is. He was a war hero, but a modest man. I'd ask my mother's father how he came to survive the sinking of the Lusitania and why he taught his daughter (my mother) to dismantle an engine in 1920's London when she was a teenager. What was that about? I'd ask my father's mother to talk about physical beauty - and its loss - and what it was like to be a strong personality when women weren't supposed to be strong. And I'd want my mother's mother to tell me about my mother when she was a little girl. And that is because my mother had a remarkable life. I want to know how she was equipped to face some of the things she had to endure.
A. Violence in any form. Much more than a peeve.
A. Right now, it's planning my spring veggie garden and thinking about the chook house we're about to build
A. To travel between dimensions - I'm convinced they're there - with wings. That or to be a Shaman
A. Courage. I aspire to it. Compassion. Because I find that hard sometimes. Timing. I so often get it wrong.
A. Don't even want to contemplate that one!
A. Pieces of music, rather. The Moonlight sonata by Beethoven. Now, that's a song without words. Leader of the Pack. Torn. The Snow Patrol song I keep singing but don't know the title (hits me like a hammer, though.) Almost anything by Nick Cave. But this is just today...
A. That changes all the time. I just look for great stortellers - my bedroom is littered with half-finished books because, in my terms, a story has run out of puff! Mind you, have loved reading Robert Harris lately. Love his breadth and range - Rome to UK politics? Now, that's deft. But maybe politics is politics all through the ages. And, whilst I'll have a bout of reading fiction intensively, I find I return, again and again, to writers of history - often women, it seems - who focus of the characters of the people they write about, and the details of their chosen world. Such stories to dig into. Truth. Can't beat it. In this arena, I'm loving the work of Liza Picard, Alison Weir, Barbara Tuchman. Like Simon Scharma too. What a mind that man has - and such a breadth of knowledge.
A. Honestly, that changes. I've loved different things at different times of my life. As a kid, I adored to plunge into the world of Narnia. I read and re-read those books and books of legends and fairy tales too. A bit older, and Narnia led me to "The Lord of the Rings." Only when I grew up did I understand how much the rolling phrases of the King James translation of the bible had influenced both CS Lewis and Tolkein. (I was in Oxford last year and there was "The Eagle and Child" - the "Bird and Baby" - where the Inklings used to meet. I was thrilled.) The teenage me loved "Katherine" by Anya Seton. A big influence on my own writing later. Loved Douglas Adams too. PG Woodehouse. Jerome K Jerome as well. And, a guilty treat, anything by Georgette Heyer. But then, I was 14! In my twenties and thirties and beyond, I was reading two or three books a week and numberless, numberless scripts. And writing too. Not precisely a blur but I know I started "War and Peace" at least three times, not to mention Marcel Proust "Remembrance of things Past." Time to have another go... Dickens, Dumas - all the great story tellers. AS Byatt, her sister too. And on, and on. Plucking names from the past as I go. And so, that's a lengthy way of saying I don't have 5 favorites.
A. Alison Weir, "The Wars of the Roses." For the detail. Does The Song of Solomon count as a book?
A. Don't think; write.
A. I was transported...