More About the Author
As a child my mother dragged me around all of the film studio offices in London's Soho. She was only 5-feet-two inches tall, like the actress Holly Hunter, but she was a real powerhouse and small-time actress.
"Do you have an appointment with the head of the studio?" The snooty 1950's receptionists would usually ask. She didn't, but she would often just grab my hand and make a run for the guy's office. When we got inside, and we usually did, my mum would say; "This is my son, this is Raymond Russell..." At around 5 years old, I would then break into a song and dance routine my mum had taught me, sometimes I was still singing and dancing as we were thrown onto the pavement!
Occasionally my mum was successful. I got a small part in the film Kill Me Tomorrow. During the filming Lois Maxwell the co-star came over and chatted with me on my fictional hospital bed. When I got back to school I told everyone that I had slept with James Bond's Miss Moneypenny!
I was also in the old black and white version of the Robin Hood TV series on British television in the middle fifties. The first day I arrived on the set in a kind of sack dress, that the under-financed prop department thought would make me look like a 14th Century village boy, I was a little scared. Richard Greene as Robin and Archie Duncan as Friar Tuck were really nice to all of the kids and I loved the adventure, until the director pointed to an enormous horse. Evidently the casting director had asked my mother if I could ride, obviously she said I was born in the saddle, even though I had never seen a horse except in cowboy movies. To make it worst there wasn't a proper saddle as we were meant to be village children in the Middle Ages.
"OK!" the second director shouted as I clung to the temperamental stallion. "All you horsemen..."
OMG I thought, this monster is going to throw me in the first ditch.
"Gallop across that field as fast as you can, try to look scared as if you're running for your lives!"
In my case that was absolutely true, I'll never know how I stayed on the beast, but at the end of the afternoon the director came over to me and said, "Well done son you acted truly terrified." I've never forgotten how to ride.
Now here's the serious bit.
Raymond Russell is an award-winning journalist, formally with The Sunday Times and a BBC foreign correspondent. Playwright of the Off-Broadway hit, Jack, Nikita and Norma-Jeane, the television play, Two legs Good, Four Wheels Better. And the author of two non-fiction books, The London Garden & Terrace Restaurant Guide and the beautifully illustrated, Provencal Diet. In 2013 Russell's debut novel Deadly Endings has been met with wide acclaim, and he is now writing the prequel, Deadly Sin.