I’ve always been a massive fan of the Sussex daily newspaper, The Argus, right from when I was 15 years old and they gave me my first holiday job. I was working for the late Jack Tinker (who rose to become one of the most revered theater critics in the country) when he was working as the paper’s film critic. I had been there just two days and was very excited, as the following morning I was to accompany him to the Brighton press screening of In Search Of The Castaways, starring Maurice Chevalier and Hayley Mills.
At 7am the following day I had a call from Jack, his voice all croaky, saying he was terribly sorry but he was down with the lurgy – I would have to go to the press screening all on my own and interview Hayley Mills! So, I went along, shaking like a leaf, trying to look all grown up and trying to pretend I went to these things every day of the year… I turned up with my reporter’s spiral notepad and a pen; after the film was over, and we were all assembled in the manager’s office of Brighton’s Regent Cinema, I plucked up the courage and walked over to the teenage movie star. On screen in the film she had been breathtakingly beautiful. But in real life, although still beautiful she was flawed – to my amazement, just like me, she had zits!!!! Somehow, to me, that made her human rather than a goddess. She was utterly delightful, and instantly put me at my ease, although I still pretended that doing an interview like this was something I did everyday, and I scribbled hard with my pencil, trying to make it look as if I was writing shorthand. The downside was that afterwards I couldn’t read a word I had written!
Since then the Argus has featured fondly in my life in many ways, and it appeared in some detail in my novel Twilight, in which the central character is a young female crime reporter working there. It appears, of course, in all the Roy Grace novels, with its fictitious crime reporter, Kevin Spinella, being both a thorn in Roy’s side but also, at times, a big help to him.
Now, I’m delighted to say, the Argus now features in my life prominently in a new way; from June 1st to the 5th my new novel, Dead Tomorrow, is being serialised. You can sneak a preview at the book either by buying the newspaper, or online at http://www.theargus.co.uk/competitions/deadtomorrow/