"While I was at University College, Durham, I wrote and edited the student magazine including a column, "A life in the day of", which was interviews with boat club hearties, science or theology students. This vehicle was to resurface 20 years later in the Sunday Times magazine where it continues to run. I worked on two newspapers before more permanent work at the Sunday Times where I eventually was editor of the magazine for two years.
"At weekends, I wrote books. My first novel, Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush, was an instant hit and was filmed, as was Georgy Girl, written by my wife, Margaret Forster. For a while we believed this happened to all novels.
"With money coming from different sources I never needed to specialise, and I've been able to resist following up my Beatles book with one on the Stones, or the Spurs book with one on a rugby club. I write only about people and subjects that consume me. The downside is that publishers find me difficult to pigeonhole. I've written eight biographies but because of my other stuff I'm not considered a biographer. There are some people who know me only for a stamp column I did, and they ask if I have ever done anything else.
"My advice to an aspiring hack would be: don't get it right, get it written. Never take no for an answer, and don't get deflated if people don't like your stuff."Reuse content