I was one of the first two faces on QVC almost twenty-two years ago. The output has always been live but you may not know that the sequence that launched the channel was actually pre-recorded the day before.

Julia Roberts

Julia Roberts

I love cats. I admire their independent nature and how they chose whether they want to be fussed or not. I once hand-reared a three week old kitten after finding it abandoned near the dustbins of out flat. My daughter has inherited this trait as a couple of years ago she rescued a family of six kittens from a family who couldn't afford to feed them. We currently have two of those rescued 'kittens', belonging to my son and daughter, living with us, along with our own cat, Poppy, who has just had her twentieth birthday - a hundred in cat years I believe.

I used to make all my own clothes. My dad was made redundant from his job when I was ten years old and we were very short of money. He taught me how to sew on an old treadle sewing machine, a skill he had learned in the RAF, and I was then able to make my dancing school costumes, clothes for my mum and even some designs for a small boutique in Scotland, near where my sister lived at the time.

Most days my breakfast is cereal with rice milk but on Sundays I have poached egg on toast, fried cherry tomatoes and tempeh rashers (vegetarian alternative to bacon). This is also my lead character from my debut novel, Holly's, favourite breakfast… minus the veggie rashers! There is a little bit of me too in the other main female character, Rosemary. She is my age, a former dancer and has Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia, which I was diagnosed with three years ago. Fortunately, I am now in remission but Rosemary's outcome is very different - despite medical advances, not everyone survives blood cancer, which is why I will be donating a percentage of my profit to Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research.

I'm a huge football fan. My team is Crystal Palace but I also look out for Swansea City's results as my son is currently Head of Foundation Phase for their academy.

Years ago, when I was a professional dancer, I had a variety of temp jobs to help pay the bills in between pantomime and summer season. I worked as a tea lady, copy clerk, shop assistant and car-hire delivery girl, but my most memorable, and terrifying, moment came when I was working on reception in the Environmental Health department of Lambeth Council. An irate resident plonked a huge jar of live wasps on my counter and threatened to take the lid off if someone didn't deal with the wasp nest that had been plaguing them.

If you are a similar age to me, born in the mid 1950's, you were probably either a Donny Osmond or David Cassidy fan. My preference was for David but my real 'crush' was Marty Kristian from the New Seekers. As well as the posters on my bedroom wall, I also had a picture of him in my locket!

I can mix cement, or 'muck' as they call it in the trade, for brick-laying. My other half had hurt his back so asked me to help. He said it was the smoothest cement he had ever used, probably due to my cake-making skills. I love cooking and baking. Maybe I'll put some recipes together in a cookbook one day.

Computers and I don't have a great relationship. I am not part of the 'tech' generation and can struggle sometimes with the simplest tasks. I have been known to ask for my daughter or son's help to store things on a memory stick… yes, really! It's not ideal when you're a writer. When I came up with the idea for my first book, One Hundred Lengths of the Pool, which had a hundred and one chapters, I wrote out each chapter heading on a slip of paper before allocating them chapter numbers, because I couldn't move them around on the computer - I have kept the slips of paper.

I love the sound of the waves breaking on the shore. It is so relaxing, almost therapeutic, and when I eventually retire I'd like to live near the sea. It was exactly that sound that sparked the idea for Life's a Beach and Then…

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