What inspired you to become an author?
I liked reading, and of course Dad was always banging away at his typewriter at home. At school I wrote short stories that pleased. So I just assumed that I could do it. It was a shock to find that writing novels was a lot harder than it looked.
Which authors have influenced you most?
I loved the CS Forrester novels and, of course, Tolkien. But I also liked TH White (The Once and Future King), Rudyard Kipling, Ingalls Wilder, Goodge (The Little White Horse), Buchan, MR James and Violet Needham. Oh, and Ursula Le Guin, especially her novel The Dispossessed.
Was English your favourite subject at school?
History, English and German. You don't have to have liked English to be an author, but it helps.
What would you be if you weren't an author?
I spent seventeen years at the Ministry of Defence, the Cabinet Office and NATO. If I hadn't become an author I suppose I'd still be there. But my pipe dream is to be an aid convoy driver, and steer a great big machine through exotic places carrying lots of good things to people who need them.
Do you base your characters on real people?
No. Sometimes I will borrow a face, or some quality in someone I know, as a starting point. If you are going to say that a character "has steel in them" then it helps if you've seen someone who is pretty steely, so you know what it means. But what really determines the character is the role I want them to play in the novel.