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.
The majority of soldiers and officers of the Soviet Army and the allied armies treated the local population humanely.
I am not someone who believes I am going to find a historical scoop.
I joined the Army in 1965 and served with the 11th Hussars, which I loved. The regiment was so relaxed – a salute was more like a friendly wave.
I was in Estonia when a professor asked me if I was aware that making any criticism of the Red Army during the war was now an imprisonable offence. I was quite shaken.
When my first novel was published, I went in great excitement round bookshops in central London to see if they had stocked it.
I just love the days when you come out of the archives with half a dozen excellent descriptions or poignant accounts of personal experiences.
One has this image of the Soviet state and the Red Army as being extremely disciplined but in the first four months of 1945 their soldiers were completely out of control.