The first book I wrote was a memoir about my year spent in a sanatorium in Bavaria in 1971: from Bad to Wurst: Bavarian adventures of a veggie cook. I self-published it in 2008 because several agents who enjoyed the style and subject said that Germany was not a sexy country so it would be hard to sell to a publisher!

Fenella Forster

Fenella Forster

My second book, another memoir, came about because I sold my 8-branch estate agency business to a pair of conmen. I desperately tried to get the substantial sum they owed me, but was largely unsuccessful. I was very bitter about the experience and poured out my story on paper. It turned into a book, and the first publisher I showed it to, Iain Dale of Biteback Publishing, snapped it up. It came out in 2013: Seller Beware: How Not To Sell Your Business.

What kept me sane during the nightmare with the two conmen was that I started my first novel: The Voyagers. I tell the story of Annie, a housemaid, who in 1913 sails to Melbourne with her new husband, but her hopes and dreams are quickly dashed. Annie's Story was published in April 2015, and Juliet's Story, Juliet being the granddaughter, set in the present, was published in January 2016. Kitty's Story, the third in the trilogy, is set in Cairo 1941 and is due out early next year.

A footnote: My own grandparents, also in service, sailed to Australia in 1913 'to better themselves', which gave me the idea for the original book.

I have just finished my first romantic comedy, set in 1975. This was a complete breakaway from gritty family sagas, and I really enjoyed it.

I have a writing cabin in the garden. It started life as a workshop, but my builder transformed it into an efficient office with a separate living area where I can occasionally relax. As soon as I open the door I'm in my own little world.

I always wanted to be a writer, ever since I wrote serials for my classmates at 10 years of age. It gave me a thrill when I watched them read it and hear them say they couldn't wait for the next instalment.

My pen-name, Fenella Forster, is another story. Fenella is one of my favourite names and 'Forster' is the name of an unknown ancestor on my mother's side. I will write that story one day - must warn you it will be another gritty family saga.

Writing novels is one of the most incredibly exciting things I've ever accomplished in my life.

Having my novels published is even more exciting.

Knowing people have read my novels and telling me how much they enjoyed them and reading their 5-star reviews on Amazon is the most rewarding and exciting of all!

Fenella Forster is the author of The Voyages series including "Annie's Story" (April 2015) and "Juliet's Story" (January 2016) published by SilverWood Books. The novels cost £11.99 each and are available through all good bookshops and internet booksellers.