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" It's easy to laugh at etiquette, but in a hundred years, our children's grandchildren will almost certainly be laughing at us. "
" I once did an event with Ian Rankin where he said he didn't really need to do much background research because his books are set in the present, and I just thought: 'You lucky, lucky beast!' because as a historical novelist, I live constantly on the edge of wondering whether tissues had been invented. "
" I have an ambivalent relationship with Margaret Thatcher. She came to power in May 1979 - a month before my 11th birthday. I was far too young to have developed a great deal of political awareness. I remember it, though - my mother excited at the dinner table because Britain had its first female prime minister. "
" I wrote 'I'm Me' because I was asked to write a children's book. "
" I am incredibly jammy. I really am. "
" Something I notice speaking to writers from south of Hadrian's Wall is that the culture is different. At base, I think Scotland values its creative industries differently from England. "
" Most fledgling and mid-list writers are lucky to be offered a 4-figure sum and are not only expected to deliver copy that needs minimal editing but also take an active part in marketing and publicizing their work. "
" Personally I estimate about a third of my time is spent on author events, social media and traditional publicity. "
" One of the great things about the Fifties is there are so many secrets - people who've come back from the war and done these terrible things that they don't want to think about, or can't say what they did because they signed the Official Secrets Act. "
" The cosmetic industry really took off in the 1950s. "
" Living in Edinburgh, I consider myself particularly lucky - we have the biggest book festival in the world, a plethora of fascinating libraries and museums, and some of the greatest architecture in Europe. "
" The Best of Elvis Presley, Doris Day, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bill Hailey and the Comets, Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, Frankie Laine all topped the charts in the '50s. Load a playlist of rock n' roll royalty. You're spoilt for choice. "
" I'm unique - a cosmopolitan mix. "
" I write fast. I'm one of the lucky ones. "
" I wanted to find something I could do at home. I sat down with a friend and made a list of all the things I could try, and one of them was writing a novel. "
" The digital revolution has wrest a little control away from corporate publishers and white, male, middle-aged critics, but the financial value put on the job of the writer and the misconceptions around that make it extremely difficult to enter the profession. "
" The writer is a mysterious figure, wandering lonely as a cloud, fired by inspiration, or perhaps a cocktail or two. "
" My family spans many world religions, ethnicities and nationalities. The truth is that I don't have one identity. I'm Scottish, British, European, Humanist, Atheist and in part at least, culturally Jewish. "
" Let's be clear - for people like me, who are obsessed with story and for whom words are their medium, writing is the best job possible. I work hard, but I earn more than the national average wage while I play with my imagination, and for me, that's a dream. "
" I've never seen an 'English' books section in, well, an English bookshop, but in Scotland, most bookshops have a set of shelves dedicated to Scottish authors. "
" I realized early on that being an author is a hugely misunderstood job. Because there are no pay grades and very little structure, people make interesting assumptions about the profession. "
" We're all so digital, but the '50s was the era of watches you had to wind. When Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay reached the summit of Everest in 1953, Hillary was equipped with a Rolex Oyster Perpetual. "
" Scottish writers are particularly successful in the crime genre. "
" How lucky am I? Quite often I speak at book festivals, and people ask me how I got published. There's people who have been working on a book for as long as ten years, and I feel like such a cow. "
" I always thought that bagels and lox was my soul food, but it turns out it's sushi. "
" Scotland just isn't terribly Tory. "
" There are so many ways to do research - even watching old Ealing comedies, watching people getting on and off buses in London, looking at household interiors. "
" Some matters are simply contentious. Sometimes you're never going to get it right. "
" Writers have it easy. If you write a bestseller or have your book made into a movie, you'll never have to work again, or so the myth goes. "
" As an historical novelist - there are few jobs more retrospective. I dumped science at an early age. "
" We don't live in a society that has genuine equality, and every woman we know has experienced that. "