I’m a pole dance teacher. I started learning pole dance/fitness about ten years ago and fell in love with it after my first lesson. I come from a professional dance background, but pole really is an amazing skill to learn. It’s probably the best exercise I’ve ever known to get you fit and toned quickly. I started to teach it about seven years ago and it brings me so much joy! I love watching students build strength and confidence. There’s a lot of camaraderie in pole; it’s incredibly empowering. It annoys me that people still associate it with stripping, not that I’m anti stripping, some of those girls have INCREDIBLE strength! Now that it’s been officially recognised as an Olympic sport I think the stigma will become less and less. I truly love my pole students and have become very close to them. You need to be dedicated with pole. It’s a tough skill to learn but worth it a million times over. Pole is good for the soul! And frankly, I think the world looks better upside down!

Anna-Lou Weatherley

Anna-Lou Weatherley

I have a LOT of tattoos. I got my first piece of ink when I was seventeen (I lied to the tattooist about my age!). It was a tiny flower on my left boob! Since then I have steadily added to collection and now have over thirty pieces all over my body, including a 1950s pin up and sleeve, a huge angel/pheonix on my chest (particularly painful), script work down my spine and on my arm, a bird cage, a cactus, a lucky horseshoe, another pin-up rock n roll girl, a diamond, some cherries, stars and many more…I love them; they are the story of my life, like mementoes, they all have meaning to me and I don’t have a favourite. I am a work in progress and plan to have many more. I view my body a bit like a canvas and want to paint my life, and all its experiences, on me. Most people I have met love my ink. I get the odd person who says, ‘what will they look like when you’re old?’ and I always reply, ‘the same, just older! Like me!’

I was a child model/actress. I loved acting, singing, dancing as a child and dreamt of being a theatre actress. I had an agent and went to drama school, which I loved. I lived for it as a child. The stage was everything to me. I loved the glamour and excitement of the theatre, the immediacy of it. I loved an audience! I ended up starring in a few west end plays and even on TV. I featured in some adverts and modelled for a toy company among other things. I was a very theatrical child! I wasn’t overly precocious though; I really did love acting and wanted to tread the boards more than become a Hollywood star. I did have some success and ended up becoming a professional dancer who toured around Europe for a while but then life took me in another direction  - writing! I still love to dance and I still love to sing and was in a few bands in my 20s, although they never got anywhere!

I have a complete phobia of the dentist. I know this is pretty common but I LITERALLY break out in a cold sweat and start to shake even at the mention of the D word. Even writing it down now gives me chills! I avoid going at any cost, although of course have to like everyone else. I can’t even take my own children and have to get someone else to do it while I wait outside. Sounds a bit pathetic, especially since with all my tattoos I am not scared of pain or needles. I think it stems from a bad experience as a child and from once having an abscess that was more painful than childbirth. I also don’t like having anyone look right down my throat. I find it all very distressing! I do look after my teeth though, believe it or not. If I’ve ever had to have work done – and I have had quite a bit done -   I just tell them to knock me out and be quick!   

I have an obsession with bikinis and lingerie. I’m very much a girl in that respect. I LOVE new underwear. Agent Provocateur and Victoria’s Secrets are my favourites. I can literally lose myself for a whole day in the VS store on Bond Street. It’s absolute girlie heaven. I’m a little obsessed with The VS models too, how beautiful they are and the shows they put on - and those bodies! I love the feel of new underwear, knowing that even if I’m in my leggings and a sloppy tee, I’m glam underneath! I have a real love for bikinis too and have a huge collection. I started collecting vintage ones a while ago, old ones from the 50s, 60s, and 70s. I don’t wear them though, I just love looking at them. Agent Provocateur design some beautiful swimwear. It’s very expensive though, so I only occasionally have been known to treat myself.

I am the world’s worst car parker. I cannot reverse park. Period. How I managed it on the day of my test must have been a fluke. I have a bit of a problem judging distances I think. Or maybe more than a bit of a problem! You know when you see a car that’s parked atrociously on the street and you say, ‘OMG! Look at that! Are they blind?’ Yup, that’s me. A few times people (usually men) who have been obviously watching me attempting to park in a space for about thirty minutes and getting nowhere have knocked on my window (amused/pitying) and asked if they can do it for me. Very embarrassing. I am getting better though, slightly. I’m a good driver, I can even change a tyre and know how to jump start a car, but I just CANNOT park one! I need a personal valet!

I am obsessed with serial killers. That sounds a bit wrong, so hear me out. I really mean I am fascinated with the psychology behind the types of crimes they committ, with psychology in general in fact, and am forever watching the ID channel and those CSI programmes. I like to know what makes ‘people’ tick. I am also fascinated in the whole murder investigation process, hence writing crime/detective thrillers and how it’s nigh on impossible these days to get away with murder. Psychology interests me hugely – the human condition and what drives people to do what they do. I have huge admiration for detectives and psychologists. I have thought that maybe, if I had more time, I would like to study it professionally. But I’m too busy writing about it!

For some strange reason I prefer my main characters to be male. Don’t ask me why because in fact I am a very pro-female, female. Yet somehow I have ended up writing largely from a male prospective. I loved writing Tom Black (Wicked Wives) and my new detective character, Dan Riley, I adore him. It never occurred to me when I began writing Black Heart that the main protagonist/detective would be female. He was always a ‘he’ in my head. I find it strange myself because because like I say, I’m a bit of a feminist. But that’s the way it has gone. I don’t argue with myself – I just go with it!

I got my first ever dog last year. She’s a mini Dachshund called Iggy and she is the love of my life (next to my kids). She is an absolute menace though. Never having experienced owning a dog I was shocked at much it was like having a child. She often wakes me up extremely early and has chewed threw everything from a favourite pair of boots to headphones to underwear. But she’s such a character and has the sweetest, most loving little nature. My kids ADORE her and she adores them. She is like my shadow, my little friend constantly by my side, staring up at me, head cocked to one side. I often wish she could talk and wonder what she would say! She really is like a person. It’s been such a wonderful joyful thing owning a dog. She is part of the family now and I could never be without her.

My nine-year-old son and I are both learning to play the drums. I already have my own kit and I bought my son his own last Christmas. He’s much more naturally gifted than I am though! I have a house full of musical instruments that I can’t play very well but love and tell myself I will one day, including a piano, two guitars, keyboards, a bass, and two drum kits. I know, I know, our neighbours LOVE us!