Ahead of the release of her new book, Blood of the Red Rose, author PJ Gray has opened up a little to Female First and her readers, revealing 10 things she would like everybody to know about her!
I had a wonderful childhood – My father was in the RAF so I spent much of my childhood in Malta and Cyprus. My memories are of short schooldays and golden afternoons on the beach or watching my father play cricket in the sun at the wonderful Happy Valley in Episkopi. It is because of those amazing memories that I live in Cyprus now.
My passion for History began very early – When I was ten I won a school prize for English and Creative Writing. I used my book token to buy a childrens’ bible because I loved the pictures, read it avidly from cover to cover and thus my passion for history was born.
I wrote stories and illustrated for my friends – I was horse mad as a child and wrote exercise books full of show-jumping and eventing tales for my horsey friends, even drawing the illustrations myself – quite badly I have to say in hindsight1
I have been married for 25 years – I met my husband Paul at work and teased him unmercifully until he agreed to go out with me. He moved into my house two weeks later and we have been together now for 27 years and married for 25.
My house is full of cats and dogs – I live in Cyprus which sadly has a big stray cat and dog problem. I have 3 dogs, two which are rescues, and have fostered and rehomed several others. We also have 4 inside cats and numerous outside ones who come to eat at our house. We run our own neutering programme for those strays that we can catch. You can’t be my friend if you don’t love animals!
My book took 28 years from start to publishing - I began it when my eldest daughter was born and used to write when she was napping in the afternoons. Then my career got in the way and time became a precious commodity that I spent with my family. It wasn’t until both my girls became more independent and had lives of their own that I was able to finish it.
I had my first tattoo at 40 – This was the second part of my midlife crisis. Paul and I suddenly decided we both wanted tattoos and I can confirm that they are addictive and have multiplied. Because I work in the corporate world I only have one which is visible when I am dressed for work and that is our anniversary tattoo that we both have on our wrist.
My hobby is building and furnishing dolls houses - when I get some leisure time and am not writing I love to channel my creativity and build dolls houses. My current project is a café and patisserie which is coming along slowly due to a busy life but I couldn’t resist buying all the tiny cakes and ice-creams to go in the cabinets. They really do look real and good enough to eat.
I love a good pub quiz – Paul and I like to think we are good at music and general knowledge and love a good pub quiz. Sadly we aren’t as good as we like to think but they are great fun especially in good company. I am also a big fan of Pointless!
My favourite place in the world is the Maldives - the first time we went was in the year 2000 and it was amazing. The islands and the sealife were just breathtaking. We have been several timjes over the last 18 years but sadly it has become very expensive now and the lovely traditional Islands with the sand floors and the ‘no shoes no news’ philosophy are few and far between.
Blood of the Red Rose is available from Tuesday, August 14, 2018.
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