An entirely gratuitous picture of me and my book! In fact it arrived a few days ago now but here’s the photo of me and FAR AWAY! If you’d like to buy it I’d be delighted and if you read it I’d love to know what you think. It’s available as a paperback: ISBN 9781784623401 and also as an e-book: eISBN 9781784629953.

Here’s the link: http://www.troubador.co.uk/book_info.asp?bookid=3292

You can also order it through your local bookshop.



Truman Capote (above) said:

‘I started to write when I was eight years old. I mean really seriously. So seriously that I dared never mention it to anybody.’ CONVERSATIONS WITH CAPOTE: LAWRENCE GROBEL (NAL BOOKS 1985).

Good for Truman!

He certainly had a head start on me. I came to writing much later. Many writers, like Capote, start making up stories from a young age but I wasn’t one of them. The only story I can remember writing as a child was for a competition set by The Puffin Club. For which I received a notebook with ‘The Posh Puffin Pad’ emblazoned on it in gold letters. I think they gave them to everyone who entered.


I was well into my twenties before I began writing seriously.  For a long time my dream of becoming a writer absolutely terrified me. And yet in answer to the question: What do you really want to be?  it was always writing that came up and specifically writing fiction.

Why the terror?

Having a respected writer for a father probably had something to do with it. I remember reading a review of his highly acclaimed biography of Disraeli. Harold Macmillan had written of the book:

‘It is outstanding. Robert Blake is a great historian – sympathetic, exhaustive, and with a light touch withal. He has not attacked; he has defended. He has portrayed, with delicacy and penetration, the most exciting and, in a curious way, the most modern of all Victorian statesmen. A great book.’

I felt tremendously proud but also rather alarmed; it seemed like a lot to live up to. It also made me think there must be hidden depths to the shy, courteous man who sent up smoke signals of burnt toast every morning.

I did not enjoy my degree and reading out essays in tutorials was always an embarrassing form of torture.  By the time I left university I was right off writing. I was right off everything.

And so, uncertain how to pursue my dream of writing fiction, I decided to make myself as miserable as possible by training to be a solicitor.

To be continued…