"All TV can do is capture the spirit of a book because the medium is so utterly different. But I'm very grateful for the readers that Masterpiece Theatre has undoubtedly brought me.""I don't always set stories in villages, more often in towns. But always in smallish communities because the characters' actions are more visible there, and the dramatic tension is heightened.""I plot the first 5 or 6 chapters quite minutely, and also the end. So I know where I am going but not how I'm going to get there, which gives characters the chance to develop organically, as happens in real life as you get to know a person.""I'm a third done into a new book but sorry - I have a superstition about talking about it!""I've experienced huge kindness here, a great welcome and some very generous reviews without the snide social edge I often suffer from at home. I'm not patronized here either, which I much appreciate!""You can't be too old to be a writer, but you can definitely be too young!"
Joanna Trollope was educated at Reigate County School for Girls followed by St Hugh's College, Oxford. From 1965 to 1967, she worked at the Foreign Office. From 1967 to 1979, she was employed in a number of teaching posts before she became a writer full-time in 1980. Trollope was formerly married to the television dramatist Ian Curteis. She is distantly related to Victorian novelist Anthony Trollope and is a cousin of the writer and broadcaster James Trollope:
Oddly my name has been no professional help at all! It seems to have made no difference...I admire him hugely, both for his benevolence and his enormous psychological perception.
Trollope's books are generally upmarket family dramas and romance, that somewhat transcend these genres via striking realism in terms of human psychology and relationships. Several of her novels have been adapted for television. The best-known is The Rector's Wife.
In 2008, she wrote a letter in support of J. K. Rowling's copyright infringement case in America.
In 2009, she donated the short story The Piano Man to Oxfam's 'Ox-Tales' project, four collections of UK stories written by 38 authors. Trollope's story was published in the 'Water' collection.
For all the power careers, single parenthood and enduring ties of the sisterhood, Joanna Trollope shackles her story to men like a suffragette to a lamppost. The result is a light but insightful look at a rather conventional cast of characters.
Brothers and Sisters:
Though the characters seem very realistic, they are not fully developed, however. We learn about each one only what is needed for the author to illustrate the process of adoption and its myriad effects on the people involved in it. Her themes control all the action and the characters themselves, instead of having the action evolve naturally from the characters' personalities and interactions. But readers will be fascinated by this vivid domestic drama, the unusual subject, and the lively characters who bare their souls. When all have had their relationships tested and tempered, they and the reader come to new appreciations of what love really is.
Joanna Trollope's latest novel wades through the anguish of adoption, scooping up the pain of the adopted child, the agony of the birth mother and the insecurity of the adoptive parent along the way. If I was any one of the characters imprisoned in the murky jelly of this novel, I'd be straight on to the Adoption Agency, demanding to be re-settled with another creator. Joanna Trollope has a subject capable of making us weep at the tragedy and the loss, and yet what does she achieve? She so resolutely makes her characters emote to each other in a ghastly brand of unisex mush that I actually found myself blushing.