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" I think biography can be more personal than fiction, and certainly can be more expressive. "
" None of my books has been ever in my head; after they're finished, they go. It's like being a sort of medium; you just grab it when it's there then just release it when it's time to go. There's a lot of instinct, not planning. "
" I love soap operas - the stories, the plots! And I love the game shows and the courtroom dramas and the detectives - Jessica Fletcher, 'Columbo,' 'Perry Mason,' 'L.A. Law.' Any sense of guilt appeals to me in a television program - a sense of guilt, or a sense of making a lot of money. "
" Thomas More's birth was noted by his father upon a blank page at the back of a copy of Geoffrey of Monmouth's 'Historia Regum Britanniae'; for a lawyer John More was remarkably inexact in his references to that natal year, and the date has been moved from 1477 to 1478 and back again. "
" I just wanted to be an ordinary, middle-class person. When I was at Cambridge, I made great efforts to lose the last remnants of my Cockney accent. "
" 'London' is a gallery of sensation of impressions. It is a history of London in a thematic rather than a chronological sense with chapters of the history of smells, the history of silence, and the history of light. I have described the book as a labyrinth, and in that sense in complements my description of London itself. "
" I can remember picking up weighty tomes on the history of science and the history of philosophy and reading those when I was small. "
" Oh, I just tend to believe in things when I'm writing them. For instance, when I was writing 'Doctor Dee,' I believed in magic. And when I wrote 'Hawksmoor' I believed in psychic geography. But as soon as I type the last full stop, I'm back to being a complete blank again. "
" As a Londoner I was able to see how the world of power and money cast its shadow on those who failed. "
" My great fear has always been complete and utter failure. Hence, you see, all the dispossessed people in my fiction, and why I try to earn as much money as I can. It's a defense. I don't enjoy it or do anything with it. "
" Health, money. That's what people worried about in the 14th century as much as today. I find it so much more interesting than the supposed activities of kings, queens, generals. "
" Murderers will try to recall the sequence of events, they will remember exactly what they did just before and just after. But they can never remember the actual moment of killing. This is why they will always leave a clue. "
" All cities are impressive in their way, because they represent the aspiration of men to lead a common life; those people who wish to live agreeable lives, and in constant intercourse with one another, will build a city as beautiful as Paris. "
" Thomas More rarely discussed his siblings, and two of them are never mentioned by him. It is likely that they were part of that infant mortality which had provoked such concern for early baptism. "
" Rioting has always been a London tradition. It has been since the early Middle Ages. There's hardly a spate of years that goes by without violent rioting of one kind or another. They happen so frequently that they are almost part of London's texture. "
" Freud was just a novelist. "
" In London, I've always lived within 10 miles of where I was born. You see, there is something called a spirit of place, and my place happens to be London, at least once a fortnight. "
" There are certain people who seem doomed to buy certain houses. The house expects them. It waits for them. "
" London has always provided the landscape for my imagination. It becomes a character - a living being - within each of my books. "
" I have always believed that the material world is governed by nonmaterial sources, so that in that sense 'English Music' is an exercise in the spiritual as well as the material. I have always been attracted to the Gothic and spiritual imagination, and I've always been interested in visionaries. "
" Every book for me is a chapter in the long book which will finally be closed on the day of my death. "
" His head was boiled, impaled upon a pole and raised above London Bridge. So ended the life of Thomas More, one of the few Londoners upon whom sainthood has been conferred and the first English layman to be beatified as a martyr. "
" There are two types of people, you see. One type keep their heads straight, and look around as they walk. The others look up - at the tops of houses, at the eaves and the lintels and the roofs, which can tell you when they were built - and I've always done that. "
" Why should a novelist not also be a historian? To force unnatural divisions within the English language is to work against its capacious and accommodating nature. To expect a writer to produce only novels, or only histories, is equivalent to demanding from a composer that he or she write only string quartets or piano sonatas. "
" It sometimes seems to me that the whole course of English history was one of accident, confusion, chance and unintended consequences - there's no real pattern. "