Ad­dicted to her char­ac­ters

From top model to best-sell­ing au­thor, San­dra Howard has had an event­ful life. She talks to Em­ber Toke­ley about her cur­rent oc­cu­pa­tion

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - LIFE & LEISURE -

RESH from an ap­pear­ance at Hen­ley Lit­er­ary Fes­ti­val, the wife of for­mer Con­ser­va­tive Party leader Michael Howard will be sign­ing copies of her lat­est novel – Tell The Girl – at a café in Che­sham next week.

Al­ready widely pub­li­cised in the me­dia, the story draws heav­ily on her own ex­tra­or­di­nary ex­pe­ri­ences of life as a top model dur­ing the Swing­ing Six­ties, when she par­tied with Frank Si­na­tra, Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe and JFK, worked with house­hold names such as Joanna Lum­ley and Twiggy, and graced the cov­ers of Vogue mag­a­zine.

Re­search­ing those days was a trip down mem­ory lane for San­dra Howard, 74.

“It brought back the wild­ness of the times, the racy fun and whacky go­ings-on, the ex­cesses of smoking and booz­ing, all the lib­er­ties taken,” she says. “The ad men of Madi­son Av­enue were straight out of Mad Men, pounc­ing almost be­fore you were in the door.”

Her books to date have been de­scribed as ‘less bonkers than Jilly Cooper, more fun than Joanna Trol­lope’. They tend to ex­plore top­i­cal themes: her sen­si­tively han­dled story

Mat­ter of Loy­alty, for ex­am­ple, fo­cused on home-grown ter­ror­ism.

Although Howard has writ­ten pro­lif­i­cally for na­tional news­pa­pers and mag­a­zines, she did not publish her first novel – Glass Houses – un­til she was 66. It be­came a best-seller; the lat­est is her fifth.

“Writ­ing nov­els is ad­dic­tive,” she says. “I love get­ting to know my char­ac­ters, watch­ing them grow and de­velop, of­ten in ways I’d not an­tic­i­pated.”

Dur­ing her 27 years as an MP’s

AF

San­dra Howard at 74 is en­joy­ing a suc­cess­ful ca­reer as a nov­el­ist. Dur­ing the 1960s, she was a suc­cess­ful model (in­set pic­tures)

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