Christmas Awards 2011

Sunday, 3 June 2007

Interview with Mary De Laszlo

Mary De Laszlo writes powerful books that will hold you to the end! Anne
Tell us a little about yourself
I have always told stories even since I can remember, I went to boarding school when I was seven and found making up stories in my head helped alleviate homesickness. I still do this if I cannot sleep or am too anxious.

I was bought up on a farm in Suffolk and my parents were great readers and encouraged us to read from an early age. My father insisted on us reading a classic every holidays and though we sometimes complained I am forever grateful to him for introducing me to such wonderful plots and writing and such a rich vocabulary.

I trained as fashion journalist, working in London and Paris in the 60’s. Then when I married and was ‘house bound’ with small children I started to write by doing a correspondence course. I had a few short stories published and broadcast on the radio. My ninth novel, A Kind Of Legacy has just been published.

I live in London but as my husband had a Travel Agency, we travelled to quite a few fascinating places. Before I married I worked and studied in Italy and France and have a great affection for both countries and often bring them into my books.
I have three children and a lovely grandson.

What do you write?
I am fascinated by relationships so most of my novels are contempory fiction exploring the interaction between characters and how it affects their and other people’s lives. I try to see the funny side of life but also work through the sorrows and trials.
I have written historicals - because of the different morals and rules of the times, there is much more drama to use in the plot but I do find them far more difficult to get the right tone in the writing.

Why do you write?
It is part of me and I feel bereft if I am not doing it. There are times when a plot is not working or I cannot get the narrative to come alive and I think I’ll give it up. Or when I have just finished a book and my mind is exhausted and I swear I won’t take on such a task again but then a new idea arrives and I can’t resist it. On a good day when characters I never knew existed appear from my subconscious and take their place in the story – it is magic.

What are you writing now?
I have just finished a novel about three middle-aged women whose older husbands are all behaving badly and destroying the family. Christmas is coming and these women long to have a happy Christmas with their children and friends without their husbands ruining it by their behaviour. They hatch a mad plan to get the husbands to spend Christmas together in an isolated country house.

The novel explores the damage bad behaviour does to a family and the pain of starting out again when a marriage goes wrong. There is a love story too!

What kind of clothes do you like to wear?
I seem to wear trousers or jeans most of the time but I do like floaty skirts and great jackets (not necessarily worn together) sometimes in bright silks or embroidered. I like pretty, well cut classics.

Are you in love? Have you ever been?
I am often in love! Some luscious man in a novel, a film or just seen across a crowded room!
Seriously, I have been very lucky and have had two great loves in my life. Very sadly my marriage has just ended after 40 years but I would like to love again – so here’s hoping!

Do you have a dream lover – and what does he look like?
My dream lover is always the hero in my latest book. They usually seem to have dark hair but as I am getting older, they have flecks of grey too! I love those pale greeny eyes like clear water. I’ve only seen a few people with them. I like lean faces and well defined lips that often smile and hair that curls at the nape of the neck. Tallish and slim, clean and well dressed.

What kind of comfort food do you like best?
Chocolate and new bread.

What makes you laugh? Cry?
I do have a sense of the ridiculous so all sorts of things make me laugh – I laugh a lot. Novels by writers like Nancy Mitford and Evelyn Waugh make me laugh out loud.
Some music, beautiful words, poetry about lost love and farewells at funerals (even if I don’t know the person) and seeing people saying good-bye at airports etc all turn on the tears.
Mary's books can be found at

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