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Where were you born?
Colchester, Essex. I’ve never been back.
What’s you comfort food?
What’s your favourite tipple?
Red wine. Or something pink, like a watermelon martini.
Dog or cat?
Both. Though I have none.
What keeps you sane?
I’m a bit of a therapy junkie. I love my acupuncturist, Ross Barr. I love a massage when I’ve been typing. I have a meditation teacher, and try to do a mindfulness ractice im ornings.
What scares you?
An overcrowded, polluted planet. Horror films (The Omen is the scariest I’ll go)
Town or country?
Bit of both. I love London, but I often go to the Sussex countryside to write. Or, if I’ve got a bit longer, I’ll go to LA and head up the coast to Santa Barbara and pretend I’m in The Way We Were.
What’s your favourite holiday read?
Last year I read Valley of the Dolls in Palm Springs, which was pretty amazing! This Christmas I’m looking forward to an advance copy of the new Maggie O’Farrell. I also loved Girls in White Dresses, a cleverly sweet and sour American book set in New York (think Girls).
What is the best present you’ve ever received?
A friend let me take her place on an Arvon course at a knockdown price because she couldn’t make it. It changed my life, as I started my first novel, Stick or Twist, that week. I’ve gone back and taught for them since.
What have you learned about yourself as you’ve got older?
That you can’t please everyone, all of the time. My friends are incredibly important to me, the closest more like family, but I believe you have to know who your inner circle are and not spread yourself too thin. I call my best friends my Parliament of Owls.
What would people be surprised to discover about you?
That I once nearly went on holiday with Dale Winton (long story).
Sweet or savoury?
Sweet every time. Godiva chocolates are like crack for me.
What is your favourite sport?
I hate sport. If I manage a yoga class once a fortnight I kid myself I’m God’s gift to exercise.
What is your favourite way to travel?
It varies. I like driving fast-ish listening to ridiculous R and B and rapping along (only if I’m alone in the car). I love trains – I spent 3 years working in Cardiff and wrote most of my second book on an intercity. If I’ve got enough air miles, I love flying business to the US on Air New Zealand, though that’s very spoiled (they make you feel like Cleopatra!)
Would you rather read the book or watch the film first?
Read the book, every time. I love optioning books to adapt though. I worked on the Sarah Waters adaptations at the BBC.
Night in our night out?
It depends if it’s Tuesday or Friday.
What are you currently listening to?
Literally, right now, I’m listening to The Carpenters 2/3rds of the way through a flight to LA. I’ve got incredibly uncool music taste, and listen to Magic far more than Radio 4. I’ve been trying to watch The Bridge, but it’s like watching Titanic on the back of a stamp.
What are you currently reading?
I’ve just read, and loved, Jojo Moyes’ The Girl He Left Behind. Next up is the new Maggie O’Farrell, which I’ve been lucky enough to be sent pre-publication.