Elizabeth Buchan led a double life for a while as a publisher and author, managing to successfully pursue both careers simultaneously, until in 1994 she became a full-time writer and hasn’t looked back since. Her first novel for adults Daughters of the Storm, was set during the French Revolution. Her second, Light of the Moon, took as its subject a female undercover agent operating in occupied France during the Second World War. Her third novel, Consider the Lily, became an international bestseller and sold over 300,000 copies in the UK alone. Her subsequent novel Perfect Love, was described as ‘a powerful story: wise, observant, deeply-felt, with elements that all women will recognize with a smile – or a shudder’. Against Her Nature was then published in June 1998, critically acclaimed as ‘a modern-day Vanity Fair…brilliantly done’. The Independent on Sunday praised the most recent novel Secrets of the Heart, which ‘recalls E M Forster’s Howard’s End…and celebrates human resilience and flexibility’.
Elizabeth Buchan has also had a number of short stories published in various magazines and broadcast on BBC Radio 4. She is currently on the committee for the Society of Authors, and was a judge for the 1997 Whitbread Awards and Chairman of the Judges for the 1997 Betty Trask Award. Elizabeth lives in London with her husband and two children.
Elizabeth Buchan is at her witty and entertaining best in our exclusive and personal interview.
Who or what always puts a smile on your face?
My family. Followed closely by a royalty cheque.
What are you reading at the moment?
Editor by Max Hastings.
Which author do you most admire?
George Eliot / Jane Austen / Ian McEwan… it is impossible to choose.
What’s your earliest memory?
Getting badly sunburnt on a beach near Lagos in Nigeria.
What is your greatest fear?
If I confess I could never bring myself to watch Titanic.
How would you like to be remembered?
I would like to be remembered with love.
Have you ever done something you’ve really regretted?
How do you spoil yourself?
Wine, chocolate, hairdresser, opera, ballet... The list is endless.
What’s your favourite word/book?
There are so many favourites words… but the least favourite are: ‘while you are up’.
Who do you turn to in a crisis?
What makes you angry?
Poverty, and the despair and illness of those who endure it.
Have you ever had any other jobs apart from writing?
Blurb writer and fiction editor.
Are you in love?
I’m plotting to marry Wayne Rooney.
What’s your worst vice?
What are you proudest of?
Where do you write?
In my study overlooking the garden through which prowl foxes, squirrels, cats and frogs.
Where’s your favourite city?
When was the last time you cried?
When my daughter made it into the top ten finalists in the Times/Naxos Voice of the Year Competition.
One wish; what would it be?
That my family are safe and well and happy.
Did you enjoy school?