TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOUR FAMILY
I come from a sprawling family with relatives scattered throughout the world, in the US, the Philippines, Croatia, Colombia, Switzerland, the UK and Costa Rica. So I guess I was born to travel. I certainly get itchy feet if I am too long in one place. The “rootless one”, my siblings call me. Thus I have lived and worked in Japan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Croatia, Azerbaijan, the US, Canada and Costa Rica. One of my sisters is a very successful interior designer. And one of my brothers has been a music editor for film and is now an up and coming photographer. I have a nephew who is an accomplished actor, having starred in films such as “Lady Jane”, “The Princess Bride” and “Glory”. And my son is a film and Web Series producer. I have two precious grandchildren aged 2 and 6 months who live in the US so I spend a few months every year in Los Angeles.
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST CHARACTER STRENGTH?
I would say, without hesitation, that it is my compassion. Compassion can seen as a strength but it can also be viewed as a weakness. I have lived and worked with refugees, indigenous people and people with disabilities In different parts of the world and have really loved the work. But I do find my energies depleted as I tend to absorb all the tragic personal stories that are a natural part of my humanitarian work. I do give a lot of myself to others but the problem is, according to my three children, I don’t know when or how to stop. This is something I am trying to learn.
WHAT WRITING ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?
I would have to say I am most proud of this book, “How the English Establishment Framed Stephen Ward” and the original book I researched and wrote in 1987 on Stephen Ward, “An Affair of State”. Between the two of them they have taken 5 years out of my life. When, through my detailed research, I came to the realization that Stephen Ward had been framed and that he was innocent it almost became a mission for me to prove it with hard evidence. And I believe I have done so. I am very proud of two facts: the first, that Andrew Lloyd-Weber believes my argument and has produced a musical about how Stephen Ward was framed. And secondly, a highly respected Human Rights lawyer has now taken up the case, based on our book, to refer Ward’s conviction to the Court of Criminal Appeal to have it overturned. If this happens that would be a huge achievement for me.
WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE NON-FICTION AUTHOR?
I have many favourite authors but I have to cite one here who is also a friend. David Yallop, who has the courage to chase after stories, no matter how dangerous they can be, is the type of investigative author I would like to be. He has researched and written about the murder of a Pope, the secret bank accounts of the Vatican, Carlos the Jackal and other equally risky subjects and put his life in jeopardy every time. He is tenacious, determined and usually very successful. His books including, “In God’s Name”, “To the Ends of the Earth” and “The Day the Laughter Stopped” are a testament to his professionalism in telling a story, no matter what the cost.
WHY DO YOU WRITE?
To me this question is like, “Why do you breathe?” I write because I feel the urge to write. Not all the time. But those times when the urge hits me I am incapable of doing anything else. When the words are flowing I can write from early morning until late at night without realizing either the time or that I haven’t eaten the whole day. These are the most exhilarating hours. When I am completely immersed in my words and nothing and no one can distract me. Fortunately these times tend to hit me when I am alone so I don’t neglect or ignore anyone other than myself.
WHAT OTHER JOBS HAVE YOU HAD IN YOUR LIFE?
I have worked in Bosnia and Croatia during the war, helping to set up a refugee camp for children and their families from all sides of the conflict. I have worked for an organization for refugees with disabilities, setting up a programme in Azerbaijan for many refugees and IDPs who required surgery for them to lead a less dependent life. I have worked as a journalist, a radio producer, a TV host and a community theatre director. Most of my jobs have brought me more pleasure than money. But that never worried me. I loved my work. And that’s what mattered most to me.
HOW MUCH SLEEP DO YOU NEED TO BE AT YOUR BEST?
I am an insomniac. Even when I was a teenager and all my friends stayed in bed all day, I only slept 3-4 hours a night. Nothing has changed since then. I feel fortunate if, on the very rare occasion, I get 5 hours sleep. When this happens I feel like a different person altogether. And it has never ceased to annoy me when people tell me: “I need at least 8 hours sleep a night. But you obviously don’t need it!” Let me tell you here and now – I DO need sleep. Most days I feel drained and exhausted before the day has even started which, in my case, can be 4am. Three hours sleep a night is not enough for anyone. I know. It certainly isn’t enough for me. How I would dearly love just once in my life to sleep a full 8 hours.
IS THERE ANYONE YOU’D LIKE TO ACKNOWLEDGE & THANK FOR THEIR SUPPORT?
I have to say I am extremely grateful to the author, David Yallop, and my co-author, Phillip Knightley, both of whom immediately saw the potential of my research about Stephen Ward. It took them no time at all to realize I had proved conclusively that an innocent man had been framed and that Ward’s trial was, possibly, one of the greatest miscarriages of justice in English legal history.
"How the English Establishment Framed Stephen Ward" is a major expose of a government cover-up that has lasted half a century. It is a powerful story of sexual compulsion, political malice and ultimate betrayal. A number-one bestseller when it came out in 1987 under its original title, "An Affair of State", the book reveals never-before-heard testimony that has been uncovered by the authors in the years since the scandal broke. Using startling new evidence, including Ward’s own unpublished memoirs and hundreds of interviews with many who, conscience-stricken, have now spoken out for the first time, this important account rips through a half-century cover-up in order to show exactly why the government, the police forces, the Judiciary and the security forces decided to frame Stephen Ward.
Stephen Ward is now the subject of an upcoming Andrew Lloyd-Weber musical and this book offers a wider perspective on its complex, central character as well as a broader insight into one of the greatest scandals of the past 100 years. As the authors’ research reveals, Ward’s “trial of the century” was caused by an unprecedented corruption of justice and political malice which resulted in an innocent man becoming a scapegoat for those who could not bear to lose power. This is an epic tale of sex, lies, and governmental abuse whose aftermath almost brought down the government and shook the American, British, and Soviet espionage worlds to their core. With its surprising revelations and meticulous research, Ward’s complete story can finally be told.
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Genre – Politics, Espionage, Scandal
Rating – PG-16
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