I get up at 5am to write.

The house is quiet, it is just me and the two dogs. These days even the dogs stay asleep but Crystal the Border Collie still wags the tail before digging deeper in to her basket. I write for two hours before getting ready for work.

Ann O'Loughlin

Ann O'Loughlin

I lived in India for a year and loved it.

I took a sabbatical from my journalism job in the 1990s. My husband and I travelled to India and lived there for a year. We made great friends in the Southern city of Bengaluru.

I love to sew.

My mother was a dressmaker so I can run up a dress or a pair of curtains no problem. I made a patchwork quilt when I was a teenager and I still have it. I think that is why the women in my latest book, The Ludlow Ladies’ Society sew memory quilts together and in that way can come to terms with the secrets and grief of the past.

My passion is travel.

I started late when I was 19 with a trip to New York and I have not stopped since. I have travelled all over the former Eastern Europe and Soviet Union, Mongolia and China. The Forbidden City, Beijing is my favourite place in the whole world.

When I first started to write

My first creative writing was when I was just a teenager. I wrote a children’s corner with the adventures of the animals who lived in the woods, and every week I had the adventures published in my local paper. In the west of Ireland people still ask me about Sammy Squirrel and family.

I love to bake.

In my first book The Ballroom Café, Ella O’Callaghan bakes her troubles away. I love baking. When I have a problem with my novel, I go bake a cake.

A black panther once stalked me in the jungle in India.

It was dusk, and we should never have gone for a walk. I was terrified. We could not run. He caught up with us, looked straight at me and wandered off.

I once had limpets for breakfast nettle soup for lunch and seagull for dinner.

On a four day survival course on the Saltee Islands off the east coast of Ireland, we prised limpets from the rocks, plucked nettles from the stalk and managed to snare a seagull. It was all revolting.

Nobody knows what I am writing, until I am done.

Not even my agent or publisher. My agent knows I will let her have a look when I am good and ready. My publisher gets nervous, but it is the way I like to do it.

My friend was killed on a Dublin street.

Everything for me was put in to stark relief when a good friend of mine, the journalist Eugene Moloney was killed on a Dublin street in 2012 as he walked home after a night out. Now, when I am afraid to step outside my comfort zone, I think of my friend and how he died too young and I walk out, unafraid of what is to come.

The Ludlow Ladies’ Society by Ann O’Loughlin is published 20th July by Black & White Publishing, price £12.99 in royal paperback