Now, I - for several years while I was researching this book, I felt quite obsessed by thoughts about sentencing, punishment, how judges arrive at their decisions.
While I was writing 'The Spare Room,' I thought, 'I'm going to look really bad in this book - there's no redeeming this kind of awful, ugly emotion', and I thought, 'I'm not going to change it. I'll call the character 'Helen' and admit to those feelings.' I think this is a reason why people write.
It's very shocking, I think, for people caring for the dying to realise how unsaintly they feel, how much anger is mixed up with their grief. In fact, often I think the anger that they feel is a form of grief; it's a kind of raging against what's happening.
I like poking my nose into other people's lives.
I don't understand my own sporadic collapses into passivity. Perhaps I never will.
I tell you one thing that makes me feel I haven't wasted my life, and that is I've got some grandchildren. You can't overestimate the kind of opening to the future that gives a person, I think.