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" I've been lucky enough to travel widely. When you're based in Europe, it's very easy to go to Madrid or Budapest for the weekend. I also lived in Italy for ten years and now live in Ireland. "
" The terror dementia sufferers must feel is unimaginable, but the techniques they use to hide their difficulties - the ducking and diving and keeping the world laughing - are perfectly understandable. "
" Caring burns a lot of fuel - psychological and physical, too, if any lifting is involved. The energy tank is soon emptied, and the toll caring takes is well documented. It's called carer burn-out. "
" I almost always use first person voice in my novels. It has its limitations, but it gives a sense of immediacy that's hard to create with an anonymous, all-seeing narrator. "
" My parents never told me I was beautiful, and for one very good reason. I wasn't. When your child is a tubby, bespectacled little oddity, as I was, it's important not to give them false expectations. "
" I'd like to see my grandchildren climb trees, not stand under them. I'd like to see them learn to make bread and brown it over a fire using my toasting fork. "
" My mother was a fastidious and orderly homemaker. I was the messy but creative type. I picture her following behind me through life with a damp rag and an air of exasperation. "
" My research process doesn't vary much. I do a little reading to establish a timeline and decide how I'm going to approach the story. "
" I have but one rule at my table. You may leave your cabbage, but you'll sit still and behave until I've eaten mine. "
" Characters develop as the book progresses, but any that start to bore me end up in the wastepaper basket. In real life, we may have to put up with tedious people, but not in novels. "
" Personally, my interest in social history ends around 1959, by which time I was an adolescent. I've always attributed this to my particular sensibilities. I like formality and elegance, and I'm fundamentally conservative. "
" As one ages, eventually, no matter what regime you've followed, no matter how fiercely you've fought the fight, good health becomes harder to maintain. It may disappear overnight or simply dwindle, but with every year that passes, the odds shorten. "
" I'm married to an American, so I guess that has changed my perspective on the subjects I can write about. "
" My husband is stricken with dementia, and it's a trick of his condition that events and people from his past are more real to him than what happened five minutes ago. "
" I was fascinated by the culture clash between England and America in the 1950s. My first memories are of being a girl in those post-war years when things were really pretty grim. It wasn't like that in America, which was real boom time. "
" I think my mother was baffled by me. We were polar opposites. She was shy and retiring. I was over-fond of the limelight. Many times in my life, I was conscious of embarrassing her with my carrying on. "
" The word 'carer' makes me think of someone with a nylon overall and a long list of 'clients' to wash before she finishes her shift. A companion was something unique. A kind of live-in friend. "
" Once, every woman owned a small mirrored compact, and it was considered normal - sophisticated even - to flip it open to discreetly check for things like nose-glow or lipstick smudge. "
" I speak pretty fluent American, though I do so with a strong British accent, and I love America: The scale and the variety of it are astonishing to someone not born there, and I'm convinced that its energy and generosity have somehow rubbed off on me and affected my writing. For the better. "
" My preferred style is to write in first person, so I always have to play around with possible narrator voices until I find something that works. "
" My go-to author for knowing it all is Evelyn Waugh. 'A Handful of Dust' is as perfect as a book can get. "
" It was the Victorians who covered the piano legs and drew a heavy curtain over what a lady got up to in her boudoir. "
" As well as writing novels and doing short-order journalism, I am also the full-time carer of my husband, who has Alzheimer's. Each day feels like a race that must be run. "
" Times may have changed, but there are some things that are always with us - loneliness is one of them. "
" Childhood doesn't have to be perfect, and children don't have to be beautiful. From a bit of grit may grow a pearl, and if pearl production doesn't materialise, the outcome will still be preferable to the shallowness of vanity. "
" There is something very easy about women's friendships that you don't see as often with men. We all know examples of this, when women will just call each other up or drop a line, not with anything specific to say. "
" I'm married to an American, and although we live in Europe, I think of myself as an honorary American. "
" People invade your space and offend your sensibilities because, to be plain, they couldn't care less about you. "
" In grief, after even the happiest of relationships, we go over things again and again. "
" Dementia is quite unlike cancer or heart disease or any of those other conditions where you bargain with God for a cure or even just a bit more time. "
" In the Seventies, my children played in the street, read politically incorrect stories, ate home-cooked food and occasional junk and, yes, were sometimes smacked. "