Karen Clarke lives in Buckinghamshire with her husband and three grown-up children- but we want to know more than that about her! So, today she tells us a bit about the woman behind the novels to celebrate the release of her new book The Beachside Flower Stall.  

Karen Clarke

Karen Clarke

My first published piece of writing was a poem in Judy comic.

I can’t remember what it was about, but it probably featured ballerinas. I was desperate to be one, despite never having had a ballet lesson in my life, and was forever drawing pictures of them.

Although I grew up by the seaside, I can’t swim and am terrified of water.

This doesn’t relate to any specific incident, but I regularly dream I’m lost at sea, or have been tricked into getting on a boat. I’m convinced I must have drowned in a previous life.

Aged fourteen, my best friend and I were banned from all the amusement arcades on the beachfront.

We’d worked out how the horse-racing games worked and kept on winning. The most you could win was £1, but they got sick of re-filling the machines with pennies.

After moving from the north to the south in my twenties, I lost my accent.

My family weren’t too impressed, but it wasn’t deliberate. I think I’m susceptible to picking up accents. If I lived in Australia, I’d sound like Dame Edna.

I worked in a library for years, which being a book-lover was a dream job.

I’ve also worked in offices, a newsagent’s, been a pub manager, and a wedding photographer. All good writing material.

I won a bronze medal for disco-dancing when I was eighteen.

I’ve always loved dancing, and would love to be on Strictly. Obviously I’d have to become a celebrity first.

I tell people I won’t watch anything gory, yet I love The Walking Dead.

I love a good series and have recently binge-watched The Catch, Sneaky Pete, Orphan Black, and The Affair.

I’d love to be able to play the guitar, but my fingers aren’t strong enough.

That’s my excuse, anyway. I can manage a few chords, but painfully slowly. I won’t be troubling the charts anytime soon.

I love baking cakes, but try to adapt recipes so they’re healthier.

I’ve also been known to make a sponge cake stuffed with jam and buttercream and eat it all myself.

If I wasn’t a writer, I’d be a photographer.

I used to photograph weddings before the days of digital, and the stress of wondering whether they’d turn out okay gave me such terrible headaches I stopped doing it.