I'm starting to research one of the daughters of George 111. He didn't let her marry. She became a gifted horse doctor - I'm going to find out more about her. She swore a lot and was rather crazy - I think she'll make a brilliant story.
Who are your favorite authors?
Be warned! There's a long list. Janet Evanovich for making me laugh so much I had to put her Stephanie Plum novel down or risk embarrassment, crying with mirth so much on the train. Sebastian Faulks for On Green Dolphin Street and Charlotte Gray - romantic literature. Gerogette Heyer for showing all regency writers how it should be done. Elizabeth Haynes for giving me that I-can't-put-it-down feeling with Into the Darkest Corner and have I mentioned my fondness for Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Shakespeare and my good friend Jean Fullerton who writes East End sagas? Then there's that lovely French man, Guy de Maupassant, but not Zola and definately not Thomas Hardy.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I have horses, a house, and a family who make demands on my time. Writing is squeezed in when they are not looking - usually very early in the morning.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I'll let you know - I have only just caught up and bought an ereader but I have a long list of books I want to catch up on.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Story or book? Come on questions be precise. My first story would have been about a rabbit or a cat. It will have been written at primary school. My first book. Oh, dear. Yes, I remember. I've hidden it very carefully and you are never going to see it!
What is your writing process?
'Morning, empty page. Have you met blank brain yet? You have? Ah, yes, you had a pretty good time together yesterday, didn't you? Pick up where you left off then and stop staring at each, doing nothing. Fingers! Get moving. Brain is starting to flicker.'
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
It was probably something horrible from a time long ago when Enid Blyton made Big Ears smile at Noddy. If only someone had given me A.A. Milne's House at Pooh Corner. I read it to my kids; I could read it to myself now and still feel the desire to wander the Forest in search of Eeyore. Isn't that what makes a good story - you just long for it to be true?
How do you approach cover design?
I approach cover design by approaching a good cover designer. It never fails.
Describe your desk
No, never. Instead I will tell you that the inside of my handbag is spotless and well ordered. I never lose my car keys at the bottom and there is always a tissue within easy reach. My credit card is where I left it last time I used it and my little cache of money is never raided by other members of my household. And that means that I am never embarrassed when I finally reach the front of the queue at the petrol station.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Here, there and everywhere...that's me. Mostly though, it was near green fields and even if it was only a little scrap of land I viewed it as the countryside. I can't imagine writing an urban book.
When did you first start writing?
I was about five. They made me do it at school. If I didn't finish in time there was a very real risk that I wouldn't be able to go and play at break. That lesson has stayed with me. So now I diligently write when I tell myself to. Look at me answering these lovely questions!
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