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" My go-to author for knowing it all is Evelyn Waugh. 'A Handful of Dust' is as perfect as a book can get. "
" 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. "
" 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. "
" 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. "
" 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 love working fictional characters into a piece of history. It plays to my strengths, which are characterization and dialogue, and assists me in my admitted weakness, plot. "
" It was the Victorians who covered the piano legs and drew a heavy curtain over what a lady got up to in her boudoir. "
" The wheels of publishing never slow down. "
" The thing about praising beauty is that good looks are an unforgiving task- master, a Forth Bridge of a maintenance job. The passing years present their accounts. Younger models become available. "
" My early novels were very understated and English. Fourteen years ago, I met and married my American husband, and as I learned more about his background and culture, I became interested in using American voices. "
" 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. "
" I hate to think I ever make my husband frightened or unhappy, but I suspect I do. "
" 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. "
" 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. "
" 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. "
" None of us wants to be reminded that dementia is random, relentless, and frighteningly common. "
" 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. "
" Not so very long ago, certainly well into the Thirties, a lady companion was a normal feature of life for widows or lone spinsters. "
" In grief, after even the happiest of relationships, we go over things again and again. "
" 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. "
" People invade your space and offend your sensibilities because, to be plain, they couldn't care less about you. "
" My husband is leaving me. No dramas, no slammed doors - well, OK, a few slammed doors - and no suitcase in the hall, but there is another woman involved. Her name is Dementia. "
" Times may have changed, but there are some things that are always with us - loneliness is one of them. "
" 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 have but one rule at my table. You may leave your cabbage, but you'll sit still and behave until I've eaten mine. "
" I know my parents loved me - they certainly did everything they could for me - but displays of affection were kept on a distinctly low flame. "
" I'm thankful my parents obliged me to live with the unvarnished truth: I might not have been a looker, but I was a better speller than the prettiest girl in my class, and I was funnier, too. "
" I've always jealously guarded my feminine mystique. I've been married twice, and neither of my husbands has ever seen me put my face on. "
" Sundown is often the worst time of day for people with dementia. They can become restless and difficult. "
" Being eye candy always was a short-term career, and here's the reason. The world finds young women more attractive than old women because youthfulness signals fertility. "
" 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. "