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