Peter James

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Countdown with ...

Peter James

Peter James was educated at Charterhouse, then Ravensbourne Film School. His mother Cornelia James was Glovemaker to the Queen and the firm is today run by his sister Genevieve and her husband, and still supplies the Royal Family.

He made publishing history in 1994 when Penguin published his novel, Host, on two floppy discs – as well as print formats. It caused huge controversy and it is now in the Science Museum as the world’s first electronic novel.

Peter once lived for ten years in a haunted manor house in Sussex, built over Roman ruins and formerly a monastery. It had four ghosts  – a Centurion, a monk, a baby and a nasty, man-hating grey lady! His Sussex home is now a Victorian rectory and so far ghost-free, as is his apartment in Notting Hill, London, on the site of a former cinema.

He has a huge love of animals. Current headcount includes: three dogs; 11 hens who generally lay an egg each every day; five gorgeous alpacas called Keith, Al Pacino, Boris, Fortescue and Jean-Luc; three emus who are super friendly and like to wear hats; Indian Runner ducks; some wild ducks; geese, moorhens, coots and numerous carp in the lake, and a tropical fish tank – the inhabitants of which include a baby shark and a plec.

Interviewed 28 October 2017

Ten words to sum up your working life to date ...

1. Perseverance
2. Perseverance
3. Perseverance
4. Perseverance
5. Perseverance
6. Perseverance
7. Perseverance
8. Perseverance
9. Perseverance

Nine things you can see from where you're sitting ...

1. A full-size and uniformed model of Detective Supt Roy Grace. 2. A sign on my desk that says Careful Or You’ll End Up In My Novel
3. A stuffed Nile crocodile head
4. A photograph of me inside my 1965 BMW in mid-air upside down at 95mph at Brands Hatch
5. My CWA Diamond Dagger
6. My Charterhouse leaving report from 1967 which ends “A literary career seems inevitable…”
7. A goldfish called Marlon given to me by a fan
8. My police museum with memorabilia from around the world.
9. A framed fan letter from Sir Alan Ayckbourn.

Eight minutes to prepare a meal. What's it going to be ?

Omelette with lightly curried lobster.

Seven people you'd like to go for a drink with ...

1. Oscar Wilde – for his wit.
2. Lucretia Borgia – for being one of the most evil women who ever lived.
3. Graham Greene – for writing the book that made me want to be a writer.
4. Peter Cooke – his humour was inspirational to me.
5. David Attenborough – because of mine and Lara’s love of animals.
6. Ted Bundy – America’s most notorious and charismatic serial killer.
7. W C Fields – I love his curmudgeonly attitude to almost everything - such as: ‘How do you like children, Mr Fields?’ To which he replied: ‘Fried.’

Six things you can't live without ...

1. My wife, Lara
2. Thirty minutes run or swim every morning
3. My dogs, Oscar, Spook and Wally
4. Cohiba Robusto cigars
5. Vodka Martinis with four olives
6. My MacBook

Five favourite words ...

1. Palimpsest
2. Discombobulated
3. Oysters
4. Chablis
5. Scrote

Four places you'd run away to ...

1. Provence
2. Maldives
3. Florence
4. Los Angeles

Three books you've bought recently ...

1. The Truth About The Harry Quebert Affair – Joel Dicker
2. Rather Be The Devil – Ian Rankin
3. The Late Show – Michael Connelly

Two things that make you rant ...

1. Louts who throw rubbish out of their car windows.
2. People in the queue in front of you at a cash machine who wait until they’ve reached the machine before beginning the search in their bag or pockets for their wallet and then the search in that for the card they’re going to use. And then it’s not working!

One thing you'd tell your teenage self ...

Believe in your dream, regardless of what anyone tells you. Believe in it enough and you’ll make it happen.