I was planning to stay in the Army all my life, but I ended up being posted to a training camp in Wales and was so bored there, I wrote a novel.
The great European dream was to diminish militant nationalism. We would all be happy Europeans together. But we are going to see the old monster of militant nationalism being awoken when people realise how little control their politicians have.
Restorers of paintings and pottery follow a code of conduct in their work to distinguish the original material from what they are adding later.
The power of historical fiction for bad and for good can be immense in shaping consciousness of the past.
I expect the worst both from reviewers and sales and then, with any luck, I may be proved wrong.
When I was younger I used to get my best writing done at night, but now it has to be during the day. I usually finish work at half past seven, then go back to the house to open a bottle of wine, have dinner, and then read or watch television.
The British bombing of Caen beginning on D-Day in particular was stupid, counter-productive and above all very close to a war crime.
It was only after five years in the army, when I was having to do a very boring job in a very boring place, that I thought: ‘Why not try writing a novel?’ partly out of youthful arrogance and partly because there had been a long line of writers in my mother’s family.
I can’t envisage stopping writing.
I just write the sort of book that I would enjoy reading myself, a book that is both scholarly and recreates the experience of people at that time.