Thank you so much for agreeing to answer a few questions! Let the fun begin!
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF
Oh, God. I hate this question. I live in Northumberland and have two children and a dog, none of whom I can control in any way, and one of whom I am always forgetting I’ve taken out and left tied to a lamppost somewhere. I work as a university lecturer, live in quite a smart house and often wake up wondering if today is the day I’m going to be found out to be total bloody sham.
WHEN DID YOU START WRITING?
When I was five. This was in the days before the National Curriculum and I was able to ask my lovely teacher, ‘Can I write a story instead of doing maths?’ and she’d always say yes.
DESCRIBE YOUR LATEST NOVEL IN THREE WORDS
Dark, twisted and sensual. Though now I’ve said that, I’m not sure if it’s the novel or me I’m describing.
HOW MUCH RESEARCH IS INVOLVED IN EACH OF YOUR BOOKS?
It depends. The last one required no research at all. My current one does require a small amount because it involves the the police and a social worker. Compared to when I wrote historical fiction, though, this research is quite minimal.
WHAT IS THE MOST INTERESTING (OR GRUESOME!) THING YOU HAVE EVER FOUND DURING RESEARCH FOR A BOOK?
My last historical novel was called The Night Flower and was all about a young girl who was sent to a penal colony for committing a petty crime. Finding out about life on board the ships that took convicts from England to the colonies was fascinating.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR WRITING ROUTINE
I usually try and start as soon as I get home from taking my children to school. I aim for 500 words a day, 5 days a week. This is a tiny output compared to many writers, but it seems to take me no longer to complete a novel.
WHAT IS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING AN AUTHOR?
Never knowing if the current novel is any good.
WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING AN AUTHOR?
Well, let’s not kid ourselves that it’s a proper job…
WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU?
I am hoping to finish my current novel in the autumn, ready for publication next June. I have the germ of another one and am quite looking forward to it. It’s going to be a crime novel based around playground politics ‒ how chaotic mothers like me would secretly like to kill those mothers who rock up in the school yard every afternoon with a bag of carrots, six bottles of water and four delightful children who are happy to receive this shit.