Credo: Novelist Deborah Moggach talks whinging, biking and going to bed with Cliff Michelmore

 

My parents instilled a Protestant work ethic in me Though it's rather lapsed of late, I fear. I've written something like 17 novels, which isn't bad, I suppose, but my father wrote 120 books, my mother 40. In comparison, I'm lazy.

I often feel like an imposter in the grown-up world I feel as if someone is going to come along, feel my collar and say: "Do you really think you can get people to read books you've made up about people that don't exist?"

Writers shouldn't whinge I've had two or three experiences in Hollywood, and each has been really unhappy and uncreative, a joyless process. But one can't whinge, because everyone knows you are trousering vast amounts of money. Whining writers are a hideous sight; we should really shut up, because we are lucky if we can cobble together a living from all of this.

The pram in the hall never affected me Bringing my two children up while writing was just a part of life. I'd much rather have had their interruptions than been stuck in a sterile office. This way, I had welcome distractions. I had to load the washing machine, I had to go out and buy lemons.

I'm 65 and about to be married again I was married once, decades ago, then had long relationships with someone older, then someone younger. The man I'm about to marry is exactly my age, and this is important. In my new novel, one character discusses running off with a younger man. "Fancy going to bed with someone who has never heard of Cliff Michelmore," she says. I know what she means. I'd much rather go to bed with someone that has heard of Cliff Michelmore.

My parents divorced late in life I was in my thirties, a proper grown-up, but it still had a destructive effect. One minute they were sitting side-by-side, soulmates as ever; the next everything had imploded. They both behaved badly, slagging each other off to their children. That's a line you should never cross. And then my mother went to prison [for her part in assisting a terminally ill friend to die]. I think subconsciously she wanted to get my father's attention, but he was appalled. They both remarried, but they never reconciled.

I'm a patron of dignity in dying probably as a result of my mother's experiences. It was a courageous thing for her to do, I think, and the law is lagging way behind humane opinion. Everyone I speak to, and not just the chattering classes in north London, think it's insane to artificially keep people alive when they are suffering. Who wants to be tied up to a squillion tubes at the end of their life? Not me.

Nothing gets easier with age Even love. Half the time, I still feel like a messed-up teenager, the other half like a wise old bird. But love remains just as complicated, just as tumultuous. People my age still wait for text messages and see how many x's come at the end of them.

I love cycling in London I love looking into people's windows at dusk, cycling down to Soho from Hampstead as the sun sets, and seeing waiters lay out tables, the evening beginning to hum.

I'd love to sing with a band in a concert hall Billie Holiday, Cole Porter… I really can sing. Probably very not well, but I don't care. It'll never happen, of course, so I content myself with singing in the car, loudly.

Deborah Moggach has been writing for the past 35 years; her novels include 2004's 'These Foolish Things', which was adapted for the cinema as 'The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel'. Her latest novel, 'Heartbreak Hotel', is out now in paperback (£7.99, Vintage). For more on Dignity in Dying: dignityindying.org.uk

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