I live near London, but I grew up in Yorkshire. I miss the hills and the sheep, but I’m not sure I could go back. London has everything and everyone, and being able to go there whenever I want is a tremendous privilege.
I wrote my first novel when my youngest was one. I decided to write a book just to see if I could. It was something I could do at home that wouldn’t need childcare or a lot of money. That first manuscript was awful but I had discovered something magical, and I just kept on going.
I am an obsessive knitter. I’m currently working on a fairisle coat. Knitting is a very soothing, tactile experience that calms a busy mind, and there is nothing better than being able to tell someone you made it yourself.
I also sew. My grandmother left school at 14 and went to work in a clothes factory. She spent her entire life making shirts for other people. She had the most incredible skill set, and we don’t value those skills enough.
I have endometriosis. I’ve had three surgeries for it now, and more drug treatments than I care to count. It’s currently under control which I’m very glad about, because it is a horrible disease to live with when it isn’t.
I don’t have a desk and my novels have been written all over the place. If I’ve got my laptop and my iPod, I’m set. I’ve written everywhere – on trains, in hotels, in hospital waiting rooms, though usually I work on my sofa at home.
I wrote erotica before I wrote science fiction and it was great. I wrote seven erotic novellas before writing Blue Shift. The Fifty Shades mania was at its peak, and there was a huge demand for that sort of book. Writing sex is fun. Writing erotic fiction has its own unique challenges, and it’s easy to do it badly. Not so easy to do it well.
I can remember the exact moment I fell in love with science fiction. It was at the Odeon Cinema in Bradford in 1983. I was six, and the moment I saw Han Solo on the big screen, that was it for me.
I used to be a science teacher, and Blue Shift was inspired by a question on an A-Level paper. A couple of lines about genetic engineering and its role in the future of medicine gave me the idea for my heroine Jinnifer Blue. She’s been genetically modified to allow her to be fitted with the electronic components that enable her to pilot a spaceship.
In my imaginary future, life looks very different for women. It doesn’t have to be the Handmaid’s Tale. Advances in medicine and technology will narrow the physical gap between the sexes, and doors that we are kicking on now will be wide open.