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" All novelists I speak to about how they started usually say it was by pulling up their roots and going to live somewhere else. You see the shape of your life at a distance. "
" I have four Rhode Island Red hens. I get two eggs from them a day. They're feathered dustbins that eat leftover food and weeds, and they're easy to look after - I throw some grain at them in the morning, take the eggs and that's it. I love the sound of clucking. "
" You need to know the characters as living, breathing people before you start the plot; otherwise, you'll feel panic, anarchy and chaos. "
" Living together places a huge burden on the other person to be lover, friend, entertainments manager, chef, domestic help, which is almost impossible and can lead to disappointment. If you don't live together, you spend more time with other people and ease the pressure off your lover. "
" I am a great believer in having the power to end your life and knowing that, in extremis, you can. But I would not want to involve anybody else in my actions if it could imperil them. "
" Whining writers are a hideous sight; we should really shut up, because we are lucky if we can cobble together a living from all of this. "
" The greatest artists know how to entertain, or else nobody would read them. "
" Independence is fun, especially when there's a beloved waiting in the wings, and freedom makes you a more interesting person. Having separate lives brings fresh air into a relationship. "
" I wanted to be a landscape architect, but I trained as a teacher; I worked in publishing; I was a waitress. "
" Bringing my two children up while writing was just a part of life. I'd much rather have had their interruptions than been stuck in a sterile office. This way, I had welcome distractions. I had to load the washing machine, I had to go out and buy lemons. "
" I do believe that we baby-boomers are reinventing ageing as we enter it. We're living longer and expecting more from life; the success of 'The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,' and other films and novels about finding love late in life, have shown that if we're up for it, there are adventures awaiting us. "
" I like missing someone and being missed; I like looking forward to seeing him again. I like getting emails and texts with lots of xxx's. "
" I've written something like 17 novels, which isn't bad, I suppose, but my father wrote 120 books, my mother 40. In comparison, I'm lazy. "
" Men take much more notice of older women in France, so I might move there. I think I'm a good bet. "
" Writing a novel is a huge adventure; when it's going well it's more fun than fun. When it stutters to a halt put it aside. Go for a swim, go for a walk, take a week off. Don't panic or be afraid; you and your characters are in it together. Trust them to come to your rescue. "
" One sees more and more people who are miserable and demented and you feel it would be both kind and wise to leave them a few pills. "
" I'm mad about gardening. I have an allotment on the other side of Hampstead Heath, and I keep three hens in my garden. "
" I'd like to be a jazz singer, but I couldn't possibly do it; nobody would want me, anyway. "
" I was never a lonely child who sat looking at the rain sliding down the window. "
" It's not a failure if a marriage or partnership ends after a certain number of years. I think, in general, we expect too much of partners. We can't fulfil a person's every single need and, after ten years or so, many relationships wear out. If we were more philosophical about it, we wouldn't try to blame the other person or be bitter. "
" I look in the mirror expecting to be 34 and see someone who is 58. What's that all about? I haven't even thought about turning 60 yet, but so many of my friends have celebrated it by now that it's lost its terror. And I don't mind being 58; it's just such a surprise when one doesn't feel it at all. "
" Nothing beats weaving through the rush-hour traffic or whizzing past the eternal gridlock that is the Strand. "
" Cycling is the only way to free ourselves from the misery of the Tube, the wall-to-wall buses that line Oxford Street, the hopelessness of even thinking about driving. "
" You can cycle through London on the side streets, which are less polluted - and much more interesting anyway. "
" My first novel, 'You Must be Sisters,' was started in Pakistan. I've wrote several novels and a TV drama set or partly-set there. "
" Living apart is hardly possible if people have children together. It can also be more expensive to maintain two homes. But then, it's expensive to break up when you live in one property. "
" I'm quite easy to live with and very easy going. "
" I did have a go with Botox, but I couldn't move my eyebrows. I also, at one point, had that filler stuff injected, but I looked like a hamster with wodges of food in its cheeks, so I stopped that. "
" My favourite room in my house is easily the top room, which is a bedroom but also a bathroom, with a big, wooden carved bath, two huge fireplaces and a raised bit in the corner for performances. I've had some really lovely parties and poetry readings up there. "
" If people want to take their lives and are helped to do so, the punishment is tragic for all concerned. "
" It's a very rich brew that's in your psyche by the time you're in your 60s, and I think that's rather interesting. It makes you feel you've lived a very long life; it's like going on holiday to three different cities rather than spending two weeks in Lisbon. You look back on the holiday, and you seem to have been away forever. "