It is through our extended family that we first learn to compromise and come to an understanding that even if we don't always agree about things we can still love and look out for each other.
Without archives many stories of real people would be lost, and along with those stories, vital clues that allow us to reflect and interpret our lives today.
I jealously guard my research time and I love fully immersing myself in those dusty old books and papers. It's one of the most enjoyable parts of my job.
Research material can turn up anywhere - in a dusty old letter in an archive, a journal or some old photographs you find in a charity shop.
I care about a lot of issues. I care about libraries, I care about healthcare, I care about homelessness and unemployment. I care about net neutrality and the steady erosion of our liberties both online and off. I care about the rich/poor divide and the rise of corporate business.
It may take a village to raise a baby, but hell! it takes an army to produce a book.
Writers are a product of where we come from but by looking at alternatives to the culture in which we live, we can find ways to change and hopefully improve it.
Often we don't notice the stringent rules to which our culture subjects us.
My father could talk about the Romany way of life and its culture. He could talk about freedom and the Scottish spirit. But that was all he could talk about. I was desperate for someone to talk to but there was just nobody there.
Very often the characters people respond to best have little parts of reality they can relate to.
If we don't value the people who inspire us (and money is one mark of that) then what kind of culture are we building?
Books have a vital place in our culture. They are the source of ideas, of stories that engage and stretch the imagination and most importantly, inspire.
It is one of the benchmarks of a culture I always think – the page at which it operates. A good way to measure it is to order a taxi and see how irate local people get if it is late.
A book is a story, even if it's non-fiction, and once I've read it, I have the story with me inside my head always.
I had never really understood what an adventure life could be, if you followed your heart and did what you really wanted to do, which is what we must all do in the end.
There is something particularly fascinating about seeing places you know in a piece of art - be that in a film, or a photograph, or a painting.
I've found myself moved by letters and diaries in archives as well as trashy, summer blockbusters. It's possible to make a connection with any kind of writing - as long as the writing is good.
An aunt is a safe haven for a child. Someone who will keep your secrets and is always on your side.
Books exist for me not as physical entities with pages and binding, but in the province of my mind.
I had loved poetry and the theatre. Now I loved adventure more.
To me, reading through old letters and journals is like treasure hunting. Somewhere in those faded, handwritten lines there is a story that has been packed away in a dusty old box for years.
While I'm frustrated at the amount I'm expected to take on in the present, the 1950s woman was frustrated by being excluded - not being allowed to take things on at all.
I don't choose between my house phone and my mobile. I don't choose between my laptop and my notebook. And I don't intend to choose between my e-reader and my bookshelf.
I believe the era of the militant lady is back.
People make interesting assumptions about the profession. The writer is a mysterious figure, wandering lonely as a cloud, fired by inspiration, or perhaps a cocktail or two.
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