My novel is about a kidnapping by a clown. Fear of clowns is a well-known phenomenon called coulrophobia. Thankfully I'm not affected. My main phobia - and I don't think it has a special name - is cotton wool. I can't touch it, and even looking at it makes me feel queasy.
Hold My Hand is my first novel for adults, but I've written for children for many years. I've even ghost-written books for several celebrities, but I'm contractually bound to keep their identities to myself.
I have two dogs, Jasper and Olive. At first we just had Jasper, but he was stolen when he was a year old. We thought he was gone for good, and adopted Olive as a stray from Spain. After six months, we got Jasper back when a vet in a fairway town scanned his microchip. I'm not sure who was more put out and finding another dog in the house - Jasper or Olive. Luckily they get on!
I love dogs. Young, old, smelly, bouncy, massive and tiny. If I weren't a writer, I'd be a dog-walker.
I once wrote a ghost story for kids. I never really believed in ghosts, but on holiday in Sicily with friends, I was having an al fresco dinner at our remote villa when a girl in a white dress skipped past the table before vanishing. No one else saw her. The caveat is that I'd had quite a lot of the cheap local wine.
When I was seventeen, I nearly died falling off a mountain in Pakistan. I was with a group descending from an elevated pass, when my crampons slipped and I slid down an icy slope. I dropped my ice-axe, and it was only my bleeding fingertips that stopped me falling several thousand feet. I'm not a big fan of heights after that.
Though my novel is a crime thriller, my favourite books are all romances that end badly or sadly.
My main hobby is fell-running. The muddier the better. My lurcher Olive will come out in all weathers. Jasper the whippet is more choosy and will hide in a bed when it's raining outside.
I have two children. The oldest, Martha, knows I'm a writer for a living, but since there are no pictures, she's really not interested. William, the younger, isn't bothered either, unless the story is about a blue train called Thomas.
I recently moved back to the town of my birth, after nearly twenty years away. I'm visiting my former school to do a talk for the A-Level English students about crime fiction. It's a proud moment, but makes me feel very old indeed!