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Crime is a very hard genre to feminise. If you have a female protagonist she is going to be looking after her mum when she gets older; she is going to be worried about her brother and sister; she will be making a living while bringing up kids.
My mum was raised Jewish, my dad is very scientifically minded, and my school was vaguely Christian. We sang hymns in school. I liked the hymns bit, but apart from that, I can take it or leave it. So I had lots of different influences when I was younger.
If you love somebody, you love them. My parents had a 25-year age gap between them and my mum was the breadwinner, my dad the house husband. I'm a strong believer that a good relationship can work, whatever the situation.
My mum was never too keen on TV, so we kids all went to the library and got books out. Right from the start, I loved the works of Mark Twain. Every time I read about Tom Sawyer, I'd go out and do something low-level naughty, just like him.
I do chores around the house, but I don't get an allowance for them. I wash the dishes and sweep the floor... I'm sweeping the floor quite a lot, and my mum always expects me to get a broom and swagger it across the floor all the time.
Something my mum taught me years and years and years ago, is life's just too short to carry around a great bucket-load of anger and resentment and bitterness and hatreds and all that sort of stuff.
Since I was a boy, from this house, I was out rescuing crocodiles and snakes. My mum and dad were very passionate about that and, I was lucky enough to go along.
I was often looked at as a leper by kids at school because I was a Jehovah's Witness. They didn't like it - you were 'weird'. And on Saturday mornings, you'd be knocking at their doors. I remember standing there with my mum and dad, thinking, 'Oh my God, I know whose door this is, and I'll have to see them on Monday.' It was terrible.
I was 14 when I started modeling. At the end of that first day my mum said, If you want to do this, you're on your own because I'm not traipsing around London ever again like that. It's a nightmare.
I don't believe in regretting - one should try to move on. My mum was good at that. She was deeply in love with my father, and he died when I was nine. She remarried, and her second husband died, too. I saw the grieving process she went through. My mother had this way of moving on. It was a fine trait.
I woke up one morning to find I was famous. I bought a white Rolls-Royce and drove down Sunset Boulevard, wearing dark specs and a white suit, waving like the Queen Mum.
My own mum cared about Hollywood, and I didn't. I wanted to act, and I loved the creativity of it, but I didn't care for the lifestyle.
The people I grew up around who I really liked were quick on the draw. It always just wowed me. And my mum would make weird funny comments. I can see in myself her self-deprecating, hippie humour. I can't take myself too seriously.
Mum loves me being famous! She is so excited and proud, as she had me so young and couldn't support me, so I am living her dream, it's sweeter for both of us. It's her 40th birthday soon and I'm going to buy her 40 presents.
Where I come from, you don't really talk about how much you're earning. Those things are private. My dad never told my mum how much he was earning. I'm certainly not going to tell the world. I'm doing well.
I have never been insecure, ever, about how I look, about what I want to do with myself. My mum told me to only ever do things for myself, not for others.
I'm not great at dealing with death, I have to say. I find death very hard: my mum, my dad, Sid Vicious. I'm not a monster; I feel it and it scares me. One death at a time, please, is all my heart will bear.
My mum and I are, in many ways, quite similar. We're both creative, gregarious, and energetic.
I love Karl Lagerfeld. I worship him. I was brought up in Paris, and my mum used to wear a lot of Chanel. I love the brand.
I'm amazed that things have panned out the way they have. I always say I'm so lucky, though my mum always says, 'You make your own luck.'
My mother was devoted to helping people - with my father's money! - who had great voices but didn't have the financial means to study music. He and my mum gave away dozens of music scholarships, and my mum opened a school in town, introduced opera to children and created fantastic programmes.
My mum taught me to knit when I was a child, and I turn to it, for some weird reason, when I'm feeling depressed.
I never promise anything. I don't promise anything to my mum. I don't promise anything to the supporters.
My mum brought me up on her own. All we really had was each other.
My mum and my husband are from Irish backgrounds, so we have a lot of potatoes. Chips, mashed, boiled, new potatoes, I love them all. Even the slightly wonky ones like Duchess potatoes that go up in a little spiral.
A. P. J. Abdul Kalam
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