I wrote my first stories when I was twenty-one and stuck in a hospital bed for a few months. I wrote about the humorous side of being on a hospital ward and got my material from the nurses who were always up for a laugh. It kept my spirits up. I sent all my stories to friends and family who guffawed at them. With hindsight i should have hung onto them and published them! My next efforts came in my mid twenties when I lived and worked in Casablanca, Morocco. I wrote a series of children's stories with titles like 'Humphrey and the Dustbin Cats'. It wasn't until I was in my thirties that I decided to try to go the publishing route with a series of light-hearted animal stories that taught French to children.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Just Add Spice should have been a humorous murder/mystery but during its preparation it changed direction thanks to me becoming too involved with ways to murder my husband. While sitting in McDonald's musing about the possibilities of doing away with him by poisoning his Happy Meal, I realised the book needed to change. It is about a writer whose character, Cinnamon, a wild, wanton avenging angel takes over her personality, or has Cinnamon been there all along?
What do your fans mean to you?
Everything. I write to make people laugh. I want to lift their spirits and help them when days are a grey. When I receive an email form a fan, or a review telling me I have made them laugh out loud, or have helped them through a tricky patch, then I am genuinely rewarded.
What are you working on next?
I have just completed Grumpy Old Menopause which is my second non-fiction book, and aims to amuse and help women at this time of their lives. It is extremely light-hearted. I am also on final edits for a series of stories that look at the darker side of love.
Who are your favorite authors?
I studied English and French Literature at university which explains why my favourite authors are Camus, Chaucer and Voltaire. I love modern day authors like Janet Evanovich and Ben Elton too because they make me laugh.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
It's a new day, filled with hope and new experiences. Why wouldn't I want to get up? The child in me is always excited about a new day...unless it is pouring with rain outside, then a few extra minutes under the sheets is very welcome!
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I'm tempted to say thinking about writing, which is true to an extent. When I am not writing I am often either marketing my books or thinking up the next plot and dreaming up new characters. However, I have hobbies too including travelling and painting. The last two years have been taken up with sorting out our house. We moved the back end of 2011 and it has taken until now to get a garden established and get all the snagging sorted out. In fact, only this weekend we were re grouting a patio that had fallen foul to frost and poor weather. My intention is to take up exercise again this coming Winter. I used to love Kick boxing. Now I am a little older I think I'll try out something more suitable for my age...maybe Zumba or Pole dancing!
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I am fascinated by technology and although I love a paperback or hardback book, there is no doubt that an e-reading device is superb for travelling, especially if you are a speed reader. I no longer have to cart cases filled with books to keep me occupied when we go away. I love my iPad because the screen is nice and large and I can read quite a chunk of text before having to slide onto the next page.
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