It seems a long while since I started one of my interviews in an upbeat fashion. Since last week the weather has actually taken a turn for the worse, and it’s now even colder. Not only that, Bradford City, my local football team, were knocked out of the FA Cup last night, and a black cloud of mourning is hanging over the streets.
It’s good to welcome my cheerful guest Linda Chamberlain today, who is a light in the gloom!
Where do you live, Linda? On the rise of a hill. The top is known as Raspberry Hill – they used to grow fruit there and in the Second World War there was an anti-aircraft gun mounted. It has a beautiful 360 degree view so would have been a good spot. I often think of the past when I walk up there. It’s in Sussex.
It sounds a beautiful place.
Where is your favourite place in the world? Venice – because you can pretend the car hasn’t yet been invented; there’s a hush even amid a crowd and a feeling that if humankind can build such a place then we must be capable of anything at all.
Venice is also one of my favourite places. The city has a unique atmosphere – rather brooding and oppressive – but then it’s amazing to enter a small church and find it full of glorious masterpieces.
Being a writer is a great job. What’s the worst job you’ve ever had? Here are two answers just to give you value for money. I hated my first job with such venom. I was a junior clerk in an insurance office and spent a lot of time in the ladies reading Russian literature and feeling resentful. Then I got into journalism. It was such a relief until I was asked by the news editor to write something ridiculous and it made me cross. A nurse who was formidably buxom had some bras made especially for her but they squeaked a lot. The noise was disturbing her patients so she complained to the manufacturers. Top story, eh? I was asked to interview her.
‘Really?’ I complained to the boss.
‘Yes, really. Just get on with it. By today!’
No, dear reader, it wasn’t The Sun but it paid the rent…
I can so empathise with the reading of Russian literature in the loo. And your squeaky bra story is worth of Dostoyevsky :)
What book do you wish you’d written? The Bible has some pretty impressive sales figures as does Das Capital by Karl Marx. I haven’t read either, I must confess. I really don’t have an envious bone in my body. There isn’t a book I covet. I admire the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon and the Stephanie Plum novels by Janet Evanovich and although I don’t wish I’d written them I sometimes wish I hadn’t read them so that I could discover them for the first time again.
What’s your favourite song? I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor.
Love that song! Now it’s going round my head…
If you could meet anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would it be and what would you say to them? Well, it has to be the hero of my book, The First Vet. Bracy Clark. I was so inspired by the work of this campaigning vet that I had to fictionalise him in a novel but I’ve taken liberties. I would love to go back in time 200 years and join him on one of his mammoth rides from the city of London to Bath on a barefoot horse. I’d like to find out more about him and be able to tell him that the world is beginning to hear him. A little late perhaps but I think he would be heartened to know that life for some of his beloved horses is improving. It would be great to go back in time and give him a copy of my book since he inspired it.
He sounds a heroic character. What a great idea to write about him and bring him back to life.
What’s your happiest childhood memory? Being tickled by my mum.
If you had to marry a fictional character, from film, television, or books, who would it be? Help I’ve gone blank. I really don’t know. Not Henry VIII as his track record is not good. Could I have David Attenborough? He’s a really nice man and he wouldn’t bore me. Oh, dear, neither of those is fictional. I’ll have Superman in that case. Someone who can fly that easily must have some advantages as a husband. Yes, I’ve perked up at the thought already!
What’s the most important lesson life has taught you? Don’t do the ironing – it’s a waste of time.
I never do!
It’s called The First Vet because it’s inspired by one of this country’s first vets. I struggled with the title, not to mention the rest of it, but settled on The First Vet because it so describes what is in the tin.
It’s about a man called Bracy Clark (1771-1860) who led the first horse into the newly opened Veterinary College in 1793. He campaigned all his life against animal cruelty and he fought against corruption at the college. He had a battle on his hands! But I wanted it to be a human story so I’ve given him some work to do and I’ve given him a love life. I’m sure he wouldn’t mind as it gives him a chance to be heard once more. He said some amazing things about the way we keep horses and he proved that nailing shoes onto their feet was shortening their lives. I’ve given the book a heroine who is a match for this wonderful man but I can’t tell you more about her without spoiling the plot. One of my favourite reviews says the book is ‘witty, brave and romantic’ – that made me smile. You can find it in Kindle and paperback format on Amazon UK / Amazon US
And you can fine me on my blog about horses.
Thanks so much for dropping in, Linda. Your squeaky bra story has really cheered me up today :) And I love the sound of your novel about Bracy Clark, who sounds a true hero. And the cover is fantastic!
If you’ve enjoyed Linda’s interview, or have any questions or comments at all, please get in touch. We’d love to hear from you!