Have you ever had an imaginary friend?
No. Except that I have often borrowed famous people into my imagination to have an argument with or even a gentle discussion.
Do you have any phobias?
I am getting worse about heights, especially, and speed as I grow older. Slimy things. Much as I admire spiders and know that they are mostly goodies in their tiny worlds they still give me the creeps.
Do you listen to music when you’re writing?
I often have radio 3 on in another room so that I can barely hear it but can feel it in the house. The same for jazz or popular music pre-Beatles. Never rock ‘n’ roll or modern pop.
Do you ever read your stories out loud?
I haven’t read this book (my first) out loud but used to invent bedtime stories to tell my children and then write them down afterwards.
Tell us about your main character and who inspired him/her.
Well, it is me (or I, whichever you prefer). What can I say about me? It is all in the memoir. Who inspired me? My mother and father I suppose (glib answer).
Few, if anyone, could have had a life like Alice Gilmore. It was almost unbelievable yet carried on under the cover of a respectable middle-class existence.
You might strongly disapprove of what she did, but Alice was determined. She overcame insurmountable obstacles to keep the love she longed for.
Her single-minded fight to live out her love makes a gripping, riveting story that one eminent literary person called ‘staggeringly readable’. It is shocking. Her methods will upset some, but are you with her or against her? Your decision.
This is no misery memoir. It’s a story told with joy, wit, and fervor – the astonishing story of the overwhelming love Alice Gilmour was determined to live out.
I am going to tell you our story, my darlings. It is really only for you three and one other (you know who) but I can’t help hoping that the world will read it, which is why I shall probably publish it. But not for some years. When you’re fully grown up and have flown the nest. God knows what they will make of it, the world I mean, whoever they are, but I am not suggesting that any rules or taboos should be changed by our story or new rules made. Leave all that alone. Our story, perhaps I should say my story, just is. You could tritely call it the exception that proves the rule. Perhaps that is just what it is: unique. I doubt that but it is certainly extraordinary. I have carefully chosen those words. Any old event of yawning banality is called ‘amazing’, ‘fantastic’, ‘unbelievable’, ‘fabulous’ in our current jargon. Whatever else people may call my story it is certainly extraordinary.
It is, above all, a love story, an all-consuming love story, though I have never felt consumed by love, rather continually renewed. But isn’t that what love should do to you? Consume you and renew you constantly like the phoenix. And it brought with it another constant emotion: fear. And pain. The fear of pain. The fear of the pain of losing it, this wonderful state. The word love doesn’t fully express what I/we felt. Another word that is more or less totally debased.