Elizabeth Chats with…Simon Hall

[My guest this month is a broadcaster, a reporter, a novelist, a speaker and an all-round nice guy. I’ve seen Simon Hall present heart-rending reports on BBC Spotlight; enthuse school children to be junior reporters; and make an audience crack up with his tales of frozen road-kill and talking to the WI. I found him utterly believable in each situation.]

Simon Hall in his beloved Exeter
Good Morning Simon and thanks for agreeing to be interviewed. Let’s start by finding out: if you had to escape from a fire, what three things would you take with you?
My notebooks with all my ideas for books, stories, characters and teaching. My hedgehog, Bert – he’s been with me since university and is a great companion. And lastly, my wonderful collection of awful ties.
A collection of which Simon is justifiably proud…

Yes, I’ve seen some of those ties; I guess that’s why Bert wears sunglasses. Now, where is your favourite place on earth — and why?
Colleton Crescent, Exeter – because it’s so symbolic of my home city, with wonderful views of the river – a fantastic place to stop for a few minutes and reflect, or just to enjoy the spectacle.
How do you relax?
Running around the River Exe, which I’m fortunate to have flowing near my home. I watch the geese, ducks, swans and cormorants go about their pantomime of life and think my way through the writing projects I’m working on.
The view from Colleton Crescent at dusk
If you knew you only had 24 hours left, how would you spend them?
Telling all my friends and family how much they meant, and all they did for me.
Describe your ideal menu — and where would you like to eat it?
Mexican food, in a traditional pub setting. Spicy cuisine and real ale; an all round winner for me.
What would be in your ‘Room 101’?
Being forced to eat semolina at a great height.
If you could meet one person from history, who would it be — and why?
George Orwell, my writing hero. I’d like to know – how do you do it so deceptively simply, yet so damned well?
What would you have printed on the front of your T-shirt?
I’m not as strange as I look.
Bert the Hedgehog may not agree…
Would you describe yourself as left-brain (analytical), right-brain (intuitive) or a mix of both?
Both, luckily. It’s a quiet gift (and rare) but a very precious one.
Simon, I’ve set the earlier questions; now it’s your turn: Write the last question yourself and use it to tell us something about yourself, your life or your work.
My question is: Who’s your biggest influence in life?
And my answer: My father. For his gentleness, his wit and humour, his warmth, his principles and most of all, his love. He set me out in the world so very well, taught me so much and I shall miss him always.
Simon, many thanks for talking to us today.
If you want to read more from, and about, Simon Hall, you will find his website here.  Details of his TV Detective novels can be found here.
By Elizabeth Ducie

Elizabeth Ducie was a successful international manufacturing consultant, when she decided to give it all up and start telling lies for a living instead.

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