When I worked in a medium security male prison I once asked myself what the difference was between me and the men I worked with. Why was I could go home at the end of the day and they couldn’t? I decided it was one event in my childhood. I’d sneaked off with my friends and lied about it. I was bragging to my friends that my mum wouldn’t find out when, sure enough, there she was, standing behind me. I got the hiding of my life and after that I always felt she was watching me every time I even thought of doing something wrong. The guys I worked with in gaol always reported getting away with their childhood naughtiness. I decided then and there having a mum like I did had some long term advantages.
What kind of music do you like?
I’m eclectic. I like classical and then I like rock and roll. I do love to dance, so anything that’s danceable is always up there for me.
Where is your favourite place to spend quality time?
My imagination. The ‘real’ world is series dull compared to the worlds inside my head.
Who do you share quality time with?
I have a few great friends, most of which live hundreds to thousands of miles away, so the contact is via the internet. I often wonder what my life would have been like without the internet. I certainly wouldn’t have been able to explore the world as I have. Being able to stay connected to friends and loved ones means you can go anywhere and not lose that connection. I probably have more contact with my 22 year old son in Oz than I would if I lived down the street from him.
What are you working on now?
I’m trying to make a hero out of a Gestapo agent for my next New Atlantis novel. I thought I’d finished with that world but I find I have withdrawal symptoms and need to reconnect with all my friends there. I like to see if I can find the good, or at least the empathetic in everyone. I don’t like to think, ‘I can’t understand how you could do what you do…’ so I try to see how someone might get to that place where they’d do that unthinkable thing.
When I first started working in a medium security male prison I couldn’t imagine how anyone could hurt someone else so badly that they’d end up in prison. Then an inmate said he could give me a scenario where I would kill someone. I said it wasn’t possible. He said, ‘I have just tortured and am about to kill your child. You have a gun. What do you do?’ It was a shock to realise that I would have pulled the trigger. And that taught me a lot about my values. And it got me thinking about what situations could make any of us do the unthinkable. A spiritual teacher once said that we have within us the worst mankind can be and the best. What would it take to make someone the worst or best of us? That question still fascinates me.
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Genre - Historical Romance
Rating – PG