House of Cards still changing my life says novel’s author

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Talking about House of Cards – the book that started his writing career – never gets boring, says Michael Dobbs.

In fact, the novel that features the “elegantly evil” Francis Urquhart and was first published in 1989 is still changing his life, Margaret Thatcher’s former chief of staff – now Lord Dobbs of Wylye – told yesterday’s Yorkshire Post Literary Lunch in Harrogate.

“Having had Ian Richardson and now Kevin Spacey, two of the most wonderful actors in the world, play this character that I managed to create – I feel like I have won two Olympic golds,” he said.

Lord Dobbs also spoke about A Ghost at the Door, his latest book in the Harry Jones series. Still a thriller, it also takes on a more personal element as Harry realises he needs to uncover the truth about his father. “Our parents are often key motivators in our lives, whatever the relationship we have with them,” he said.

Also speaking was Hilary Bonner, formerly a Fleet Street journalist and chairman of the Crime Writers’ Association.

She explained that the starting point for her books came 
from real events – previous 
inspiration has been drawn from the mysterious army deaths at Deepcut Barracks and her 
own experience of living next door to a murderer. She also said 
the process of producing a first draft of a novel was like “pulling teeth”.

The third speaker was award-winning poet Claire Dyer. Her first novel, The Moment, looks at the “what ifs” of life through a chance meeting between the hero and heroine.