I got a crappy degree in philosophy at Bristol and sort of staggered down to London. By then I had a baby and got married in that order. I was more or less unemployable.
I did a secretarial course and got a job with the Observer sports department, where I spent two years getting drunk. And I just thought: what a wonderful life! I was such a useless secretary but I've always been a complete football nut, and my big break was being allowed to report Coventry vs Spurs in 1969. I did the most pretentious report but I got my byline. The paper had loads of calls the next day asking is Julie like Leslie or Hilary because they thought I must be a man.
I didn't mind people thinking that I was unconventional. I'm quite bloody minded and I think I am fairly lucky and good at being in the right place at the right time. It was hard work not being put off as there was a lot of hostility towards me because I was a woman. You have to clench your teeth and keep plugging away.
Although I won the Daily Telegraph Magazine Young Writer of the Year Award, I always wanted to be a novelist and write TV plays but it wasn't until the beginning of the Eighties that I got a bunch of things accepted. David Puttnam asked me to write a film about my childhood love of football so I wrote Those Glory Glory Days. That was1983, an amazing year as I got re-married as well.
My biggest break leading to Long Distance Information was getting sacked. I was working on the Sunday Telegraph and the department closed. I was so annoyed that I sat down and wrote the book in about six months.
I was seven when I decided I wanted to be an author so it is only now at 50 that I've got there. Don't think life is over when you hit 30 or 40; you can change at any time, and you can often turn real reversal to your advantage if you are angry enough.