Tarquin de la Force admits not being a good student in his younger years. As with many bookish people, it was maths that let him down. After leaving school, de la Force joined the wine trade. It wasn't really for him, however, and after a few years of "dithering", he found himself a part of the PR and advertising world.The lure of the social scene soon halted his work ambition. After short periods of employment at various establishments, he took a job in Copenhagen, where he met a Danish folk singer, for whom he wrote several lyrics. These then appeared in songs on the singer's first LP. They reflected De la Force's love of verse. Quite apart from song lyrics, de la Force has written and continues to write a wide variety of poetry, some of which he weaved into his novel, Constance. Indeed for many years, he was known far better for his verse than his prose writing.Returning to the UK, de la Force continued to work in PR, but as a result of the persuasive efforts of his then-employer to "go and see the world", he did just that. De la Force insists that the stories of his travels, including a trip from England to Calcutta in a transit van, are for another day. It sounds like the basis of another future novel!After several adventures in India, de la Force decided he would continue on to Australia, arriving with just £10 to his name, becoming, in effect, the famous 'Ten Pound Pom' we've all heard of. However, after 14 years ‘down under’ working in advertising, he returned to England to join the diamond industry. He remained there, until once more returning to Australia in 2008, where he has lived ever since.The intricacies of his life are reflected in the story of Constance. Through her ups and downs, the reader explores a character that has a non-linear life, making it a refreshing read. Not everything is as cut and dry as most fiction would have you believe.De la Force came to write Constance through his love of the Age of Enlightenment. You will see a new perspective on the French Revolution, Marie Antoinette, and many of the historical characters around her. De la Force describes them as "portrayed in a more sympathetic and kindly light.”Stemming from a three-page short story, Constance grew, thirty years later, into the book it is today. For fans of Constance, there is good news: de la Force is working on a follow-up.
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Feature by Jack Fabian