Q: What made you write Pangamonium?
A: A deep-seated fear of not fulfilling my parents gift of a typewriter when I was 13 years old. Plus believing like almost everyone else that I had a novel in me.
Q: If your main character could be played by any actor in the world, who would you choose?
A: A very good one with a telegenic smile, a deep tan, hair to die for, a killer bod and a voice that could turns heads across a room. Of course, they would be totally unsuitable to play the part of Francis, so it’s just as well I am not a casting agent.
Q: You have written a comic novel — are there any jokes in it?
A: Many readers say they laughed out loud. There’s a good deal of play with words. It believes in the thinking person’s entertainment. Some might say my whole novel is a joke.
Q: How would you describe it?
A: It’s a satirical adventure farce, with a fast-paced, improbable plot that grows more ludicrous as it develops. Married to a romance, so in true comic tradition there is a happy ending. One critic said it was compassionate. The satire makes you laugh, think and feel, in that order.
Q: What advice do you have for budding authors?
A: Keep at it. You get better with lots of practice.
Q: Favourite book?
A: Lolita is incredible; smart, funny, caustic. Nabokov is a genius.
Q: What do you read for pleasure?
A: I like reading crime and thrillers. I’m a sucker for a strong plot.
Q: Who are your biggest influences as a writer?
A: It’s always hard to know, but the foundation is probably authors I loved as a kid; Robert Louis Stephenson, Charles Dickens and Mark Twain. And later, satirical TV shows, films and magazines — Get Smart, Dr Strangelove and Mad Magazine. Great writers on all of those. Then add an overlay of funny surrealists in Tom Robbins and Kurt Vonnegut. Splash in a good measure of the humanist Garrison Keillor. Add the hilarious adventures of Bill Bryson and Tahir Shah. Mix and shake. Serve over ice in a martini glass.