The 5-minute Interview: Anne Perry, Novelist

'Despair hits me at 3am, but I feel better in the morning'
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Anne Perry (born Juliet Hulme), 69, was found guilty of murdering her best friend's mother in 1954, in the case that later formed the basis for Peter Jackson's film 'Heavenly Creatures'. This year Perry, now a best-selling author, will release the next instalment in her Charlotte Pitt detective series, 'Buckingham Palace Gardens'.

If I weren't talking to you right now I'd be...

Planning my next book.

A phrase I use far too often...

"Deep" or "profound", having just done some of my own proof reading.

I wish people would take more notice of...

Old people who are alone and looked after physically but no long valued for their wisdom.

The most surprising thing that happened to me was...

When I've travelled people have taken me in and treated me with the utmost kindness. You feel as if you don't really deserve it. About 40 years ago I was travelling in America and some people from a church met me off a bus in Los Angeles. They treated me as if I was a member of their own family and invited me to spend Christmas with them. I kept in touch with them right up until they died just a few years ago.

A common misperception of me is...

I think I look more confident than I am. People think that I'm not scared when I'm travelling alone but I am.

I am not a politician but...

I'm a great fan of Yes, Prime Minister.

I'm good at...

Forgiving and forgetting. My mother used to say "let's scrub around that" and she meant "let's treat that as if it never happened".

I'm very bad at...

Singing. I love music but I can't sing. I don't even do it by myself.

The ideal night out is...

A night at the opera dressed up to the nines. Listening to Puccini and going to a gala night.

In moments of weakness I...

Tend to think that I'm never going to make it to the things I want to. Despair hits me at three in the morning but then in the morning I feel much better and I think, of course I can do it. A sunny morning helps too.

You know me as a writer but in truer life I'd have been a...

Film director. I love the visual image and I've got to tell stories somehow. I've loved film since I was five.

The best age to be is...

Whatever age you are at the moment. I can't see very far forward and I don't look back unless it's to learn from it. Sometimes I'd like to be younger but then I remember a great advert that said, "You're not getting older, you're just getting better."

In a nutshell, my philosophy is this:

Give it all you have and give it your very best because this is it.

Claire Daly

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