As a child, I loved the East End parties; the sing-songs, the bawdy drinking and the not-so-discreetly confided secrets as the atmosphere became charged with chemistry. I’d huddle with my cousins “under the dining table” as there wasn’t much room to move when the knees-up got going. There was an endless supply of newspaper boats full of greasy fried chips and bottles of fizzy ice cream soda to keep us occupied.
A listener and voyeur at a very early age, I turned my observations into a career. Love, lies and secrets are my stock in trade. Though I hasten to add all my books are works of fiction! The Rivers women are forces to be reckoned with and never to be underestimated. As the late, great Jackie Collins insisted, heroines are there to kick asses - not to have them kicked!
I like to re-read my old favourites and at the moment it’s Harry Bowling. Like Dickens, Harry and Catherine Cookson chronicled stories from the places and people they knew best. They told it all without fuss, elaboration or boastfulness. They used the vernacular of the street combined with an instinctual skill of diarists that make them mesmerizing. They wrote with the voice inside their heads. Dickens with his keen observance and compassion, Harry with his humour, Catherine with her candid honesty. What wonderful teachers we find between the pages of books. And, like Del, Rodders and Granddad, they are all uniquely ours and eternal.