Welcome back to my blog party. We’re all getting along famously here. Speaking of being famous, the authors, Emily Bronte and Mary Shelley are proving very popular with my other guests. I think they’re both extremely touched to hear how much their work is still appreciated. Personally, I’ve been chatting to Susan Hill about her novel, ‘The Woman in Black.’ She seems pleased to hear that the film version scared the bejeezus out of me. 😉

robert-crouchThe first person to join us at the blog party today is Robert Crouch. I see Robert’s brought a karaoke machine with him. Hmm … I’ve heard this lot sing already. Robert says he’s never had a go, but he’s always fancied it. Ahh well, if nothing else, it’ll make a change from Linda’s Roxy Music CD! Robert’s second item is a bottle of salad cream, “because it’s so much tastier than mayonnaise.”  Well, help yourself to something from the buffet, Robert, and we’ll take a look at your Q&As.

What is the first book you remember reading or having read to you? Five go to Treasure Island by Enid Blyton. I read this when I was 7 or 8 and wanted to be part of the gang, having adventures and solving mysteries. Enid Blyton inspired me to read, and later to write adventure stories and now crime fiction.

Who is your favourite literary character? Kinsey Millhone from the Alphabet Series. I’ve followed the feisty detective’s adventures for 24 books now and she shows no signs of flagging.

Which book have you always meant to get round to reading, but still not read? Nemesis by Agatha Christie. (All of the Miss Marple stories really). I loved the BBC series with Joan Hickson, and I would love to read the books. I suspect Christie is a great writer, so it would be lovely to find out.

Who would be at your dream dinner party (alive, dead or fictional)? Victoria Wood because she’s funny, warm and a keen observer of life. No one else has made me laugh as much as she has, and I was in tears when I found out she’d died earlier this year. Victoria Coren-Mitchell – acerbic, witty, intelligent and so, so funny. I would love to banter with her. Arnold Schwarzenegger – a Dutch bodybuilder who became governor of California and made some memorable films. What a journey, and what a rags to riches story he has to tell. Scooby Doo – cute, lovable, funny – I’d put him in charge of snacks

What’s the best advice you have ever received? ‘Take 100% responsibility for your life’ – Jack Canfield.
It’s not easy, but it helped me improve and find purpose, which ultimately led to my first murder mystery novel, No Accident, being accepted by a publisher.

Who is your hero or heroine (real or fictional)? The underdog. I’m not one for heroes, but I always feel humbled and inspired by people who battle against the most appalling odds and handicaps to live fulfilling lives. There was a girl who lost both legs due to meningitis, and suffered horrendous scarring to her skin, requiring countless operations. Yet she was walking to raise money for charity and had such a positive, sunny outlook on life, I was moved to tears.

Where are you happiest? In my imagination – especially when I’m running over the South Downs, enjoying the views as I unwind and feel the sun on my face and the wind in my hair.

Describe your best ever holiday. Two week tour across Canada. From the awesome Niagara Falls to the majestic Rockies, Canada is possibly the most beautiful country I’ve visited. Highlights included walking on a glacier, white water rafting, a helicopter ride and hike in the Rockies, the changing of the guard in Ottowa, the historic buildings of Quebec, and a day walking around Vancouver in the sun, chilling out with the locals. As it was a coach tour, someone else did the driving while we got to know so many lovely people, including a couple who became and remain best friends.

If I joined you on your perfect day, what would we be doing? We’d start with a walk along the South Downs, taking in Beachy Head, a stroll over the Seven Sisters, finishing at Seaford Head. From here we would take in the view along the coast to the Seven Sisters. Lunch would be in the Plough and Harrow, Litlington, which allows dogs as well as offering the best Ploughman’s ever with chilli cheese. From here, we’d stroll along the River Cuckmere as it meanders between the hills towards the quaint village of Alfriston for some creamy, dreamy Sussex Ice Cream. We’d probably need a 5-mile run to burn off some of the calories, but as it’s a perfect day, we’ll settle for a curry, followed by an episode of Lieutenant Columbo on DVD.
We’d finish with a late evening stroll along the seafront with Harvey, my West Highland Terrier, as the sun sinks behind the South Downs, allowing the moon to cast a silvery glow across the water.

Thanks for those great answers, Robert. I can thoroughly recommend Agatha Christie’s novels, they’re classics; I think over the years I’ve read them all. As for Columbo – I couldn’t agree more. That programme always reminds me of my childhood and my dear old dad, who’s sadly no longer with us. I hope Harvey likes bouncy, standard poodles? If so, I’ll bring Forrest along.

no-accidentRobert’s first murder mystery novel, No Accident, is available on Amazon. It was published in June this year. He’s about to publish, Fisher’s Fables, which is a collection of humorous blogs that helped inspire No Accident. The second murder mystery, No Bodies, should be out early in 2017.

You can find out everything you need to know at Robert’s website.

Another guest will be along any minute …

Check out my full guest list here.


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