"Over the years since I became an author, I must have have given dozens of press interviews and have appeared on numerous local television and radio programmes. However seasoned an interviewee one becomes, often it is the simplest and most obvious questions put to one that leaves one thinking for a suitable reply. The most obvous questions are those that begin with 'W' such as, 'Why?...What?...Who?...When? or Where?'
I remember when ueen Elizabeth was pinning a medal on me, she asked, 'And what kind of books do you write Mr Forde. Somewhat stuck for a reply that seemed suitable for her royal personage I blurted spontaneously, 'Good ones, Maam.Good ones!'
During the 1990s, Jeffrey Archer was reading one of my books at a school in Slaithwaite, Huddersfield. This was a good number of years before his 4-year prison sentence in July, 2001 for perjury and perverting the course of justice for the lies he told at his libel action at the 1987 trial. At the time, despite Jeffrey being the country's 'best-selling' author, the press and literary circles were very derogatory about the quality of his literature and rarely a day went by without some press article putting the man and his work down.
Being in the public eye, Jeffrey's public reading of my book at thre school was covered by the press, local radio and the two local Yorkshire television stations. The 'Look North' television station had one reporter interviewing myself at the same time as 'Yorkshire Television' was interviewing Jeffrey. Being aware of certain interview techniques by that time, I was waiting for the 'surprise question' which is usually the one asked when the person thinks the interview has ended but the cameras are still rolling. As expected, the last question posed to me was the 'stinger'. 'There has been much publicity during the past few weeks , Mr Forde, about the quality of Jeffrey Archer's writing. How good a writer do you consider him to be?' I was asked.
With moments to respond I replied,' To tell you the truth, I couldn't say, as I must admit I've never read one of his books yet...(pause)...but I know that he has read one of mine this morning!'
Young children will always provide the most innocent and funniest answers of all. The late Richard Whiteley (television presenter of 'Countdown'), read for me on half a dozen occasions in Yorkshire schools during the 90s and early 2000s. Like another regular reader and television-presenter friend of mine, Geffrey Smith, from 'Gardener's World', these two men were firm favourites with the ladies. Whenever either read at a school for me, the place was packed to the rafters and more parents attended the reading assembly than they were children in the school. I don't know what these two men had in the charm department but I wish I could have bottled and sold it; I'd have made millions!
On the morning in question, Richard asked a six year old girl to come and sit next to him as he read from my book. He then addressed the young girl and asked,' 'Who's little girl are you?' before receiving the same answer as thousands of other adults have received in their time after posing that verey same question to one so young. As all the mums fawned and hung on every word spoken by the gently-spoken Richard Whiteley and waited for the girl's response, Richard's little helper coyly replied, 'My mummy's'.
Some press reporter once asked me twenty-eight years ago, 'What led to you becoming a writer, Mr Forde?' I didn't quite have my finger on the pulse at that time to know the answer then, but I know now, having had sixty-six books published since 1989/90.
It is because I like to remain in control of events. When you are a writer, you possess the power to say, 'This is how the story is going to end!' If only we each had the power to say that about the conclusion of our own lives?"William Forde: April 24th, 2018.