Gill Pharaoh was a nurse for many years, working both in hospitals, and in the community. The latter half of her career was spent specialising in Palliative Care.   She has two grown children; a daughter in California, and a son with a family, in Australia. Gill is an enthusiastic gardener, an avid reader of all kinds of books, and a keen cook.  She lives in outer London with her partner of twenty years.

Q&A with Gill Pharaoh

Q1. What is the most difficult part of being an author?

Getting published and promoting my books.

Q2. What is your greatest achievement (whether related to writing or not)?

I don't know if I can call anything a greatest achievement. I survived years as a single parent, with virtually no financial support, and made some dreadful decisions over time, but my children survived as very good people who still care about me, and I managed to buy a house for myself as well. Is that an achievement or was it mostly enormous luck! Perhaps surviving long enough to develop some perspective on the times the Gods have “peed on my head” is some sort of achievement!

Q3. How do you react to a bad review of one of your books, or a negative reaction from a friend or family member?

I prefer to have someone tell me the truth so I don't mind f they didn't agree with something I wrote. I hate to read or hear of any really spiteful reviews but probably reading someone else's would upset me more than my own. I usually finish something off and forget it.

Q4. Would you ever write your autobiography?

I am doing it now -but really for my children to read rather than for publication. Life has changed so much since I was young and especially in the field of medicine -and I feel that many of the stories I have are almost unbelievable to this generation of nurses. Also many of them are extremely funny!

Q5. What do you think is the future of the print book?

I have a kindle but I really find them hard to use. I hope there will always be books -nothing smells or feels quite like a new book or like an old book, and I am very sorry for people who do not enjoy reading. A kindle is a piece of equipment but a book is an intimate friend.

Q6. When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?

I don't think I ever thought I would be a writer and I never say I am one -I just say I have written a couple of books. It seems a bit pretentious to call myself a writer.

Q7. When did you write your first book?

I wrote it after I retired and we were living in Brûges for nearly two years so when I had some spare time I started writing.

Q8. Why did you decide on your particular genre?

That's what I know most about. I wrote the second book because I got irritated by the constant criticism of carers, who have such an awful job, poorly paid with no prospects, pitiful salary, little training, wretched hours and rarely any support from management. Many of them would prefer not to do the work but have little choice in what they do, and they often do brilliantly in spite of that. I wanted to write something that could encourage and help a new carer, whether a youngster just starting a job, or an older person looking for part time work to balance the family budget. I think it is quite daunting to start giving personal care to a stranger, with so little training. New carers are often totally discouraged very soon after they start.

Q9. Which authors have influenced you?

I think any book I have ever finished and found interesting has an effect on me. Having said that, John Pilger never ceases to open my eyes to something but he is emotionally tiring to read and I have to read his stuff in instalments, interspersed with something a bit lighter!

Q10. How long did it take you to write your latest book?

Probably 6 months with a few breaks.

Q11. Where did you find the inspiration for your book?

The new one was started when a friend was thinking of working as a carer and asking me questions.

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