When I was young I once worked as surgery receptionist to a hot ‘dishy doc’ to-die for! As in, I almost died of embarrassment when I reversed my tatty old Mini into his new Mercedes in the car park. He nobly ignored the collateral damage and was kind enough to enquire whether I was hurt. How could I admit it was only my pride?

Carol Rivers

Carol Rivers

My guilty secret is racking up endless hours of TV’s ‘Love Island’! Yes, I know, pathetic! But I do happen to write romance, so research is imperative! That’s my excuse anyway and I’m sticking to it. At least for the next series!

We once lived in a cottage that was very old and a bit creepy. During repairs we needed to isolate the water tank in the attic, but hit a problem. The turn-off was rusted through. Even the builder couldn’t budge it. That night we joked it was the fault of the mischievous ghost who haunted the property. The next morning the builder arrived with reinforcements, to discover the turn-off was working perfectly!

I know how to remove armatures and replace broken bearings in electrical appliances. My dad ran an electrical shop.

Gran and Granddad were Eastenders and lived in Chapel House Street, Isle of Dogs. My great aunt who I just called Great Auntie, used to visit with my Uncle Ebbie. Great Auntie smoked a clay pipe which fascinated me because of the weird smell. I loved these visits because there was always a party involved.The children crammed under the table covered in a huge tablecloth and were provided with sweets, crisps and fizzy pop. This particular night the clay pipe lay just a few feet away. Too much temptation! It was the best party we ever had. Almost. (It was the 60’s after all.)

People often ask me if there are ‘real’ people featured in my books. I answer that my characters are cocktails of all sorts, but one character was real enough; an elderly forger who had spent a lifetime perfecting his craft. After our interview he gave me a one pound note as a souvenir. Luckily, by then, coins had replaced paper!

If I have to travel somewhere I’m not familiar with - yet not too distant, I drive there first as a practice run. I plan route, time, traffic, congestion and diversions so I’m not late. How sad is that?

I believe that the 5 elements of Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Spirit have special energies that we can harness for our creativity.

I sold my first story - a young girl’s expose of unrequited love - to a fiction magazine, but it was word-for-word true!

We bought a Scandinavian ’Tubble’ (inflatable plastic bath) to use while we were renovating the bathroom. Tubble eventually became redundant when we’d completed the project. But by then, the Tubble Bug bug had bitten! Late one summer night we carried Tubble onto the lawn and in the moonlight, filled it with a hose from the hot tap - and plenty of bubbles … signed shamefully; ‘Addicted to Tubble’ …