Living With It is about coming to terms/or not with decisions made and things done in the past which come back to haunt you. The plot centres on Isobel's decision not to have her children vaccinated which has tragic consequences for the baby of her close friend and former lover. This triggers the re-emergence of feelings and issues from the past, which everyone thought were safely buried.
Please tell us about your central characters Ben, Maggie, Isobel and Eric
We meet them in their mid-forties. Ben and Maggie have only recently met and had a baby, while Eric and Isobel have been together since university. They met though Ben, an old school friend of Eric's, whilst at university, a time when they were all idealistic and life seemed full of possibilities. Now their lives are settled, but each is slightly disappointed by the way things have turned out. When Ben and Maggie decide to sue Isobel and Eric for causing their baby's deafness, old tensions and resentments begin to cast shadows over their all their lives.
Why did you want to explore the controversy around the MMR vaccination?
It is an issue which crystallises the moral dilemma of parenthood i.e. what do you put first, the needs of your own children or those of the wider community. All parents struggle with this. There are lots of areas in which you suddenly want to be selfish for the sake of your own family and cast aside ideals you may have had before as a result. The MMR issue was a way of exploring this.
You have been praised for having page turning prose, so how have you developed this addictive quality to your writing?
Possibly through being a very annoying person to live with! I've always been a bit of a story teller and I am guilty of not letting other people tell their own stories because I think there is a better way. My husband hates me for interrupting his anecdotes - but he gives away too much too quickly and doesn't create enough suspense. I tell them better!
You have early praise for Sarah Rayner, Araminta Hall, William Nicholson and James LeFanu, so how does that make you feel and are you fans of their work?
Flattered naturally because yes, a huge fan of all their work, and it's nice because they are all very different writers working in different areas. I hope their kind comments mean the book will have a fairly broad appeal.
Do you think the book will become so popular with book groups for the summer?
And this autumn and winter and maybe even into spring and beyond! When I've told people what I've been writing about it, always prompts a lively debate so I hope it will do the same amongst book groups. I did not want to write a preachy book and I hope I've written a book which is entertaining and one in which you care about all the characters and want to know what happens to them, but also one which makes people think and question things.