1. I am shy by nature and sharing bits of myself, just as I am doing here, invariably makes my heart race and my palms sweat. I much prefer to hide behind the characters in my books. They are far more interesting than I will ever be.

Dead Girl Walking

Dead Girl Walking

2. I will always consider myself a nurse first and I have spent much of my career in a busy inner-city ER where chaos is the order of the day. It was that ER experience that provided me the courage to take a leap into providing healthcare and aid to those displaced by war and circumstance. And it was there, in the world’s darkest places and among the world’s injured and lost, where I learned the most valuable lesson—that the smallest of gestures—a handshake, a smile, a simple reminder that someone is not alone, can change a life forever. I know that my life was changed forever by those refugees whose stories are forever etched into my heart.

3. It was also that third-world experience that provided me the opportunity to write professionally—first for nursing journals, then the BBC News Online (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/4007353.stm) and Huffington post, and then books.

4. I wrote my first short story when I was seven years old which turned into a series of stories about the adventures of three children—Holly, Maria and Robert, one of them living with an aunt.

5. My road to publication was not as simple as it might seem. I harbored a secret desire to be a writer, to see my name in print, but it really wasn’t something that I dared to say out loud. It seemed an impossible goal, but undaunted, I plugged away and submitted countless short stories to national magazines. All were rejected.

6. For as far back as I can remember, I’ve loved words. I love the sounds, the way a word can slip from my tongue like cool water through a stream or the jagged way it might flow like rocks along a riverbed. I love the way a single word can change a story or a life for it is a well-chosen word that will stay with us forever, something I learned long ago.

7. I get some of my best ideas for stories and characters when I am at the gym or out on a run. I’ve learned to carry a pen and small notepad or record it on my phone.

8. And since we’re still on books, my favorite book—To Kill a Mockingbird—is also my favorite movie. The setting, the characters, the moral of the story, echo as deeply today as when the book was first released in 1960.

9. I lie about my height. I say I’m “about five feet.” I’m not.

10. I am a twin. We are not identical and in fact, don’t really look alike (she is taller) but when people learn that we are twins, they invariably look right at us and ask “Identical?”

RELATED: Seven things I'd like my readers to know about me by James Bailey

I didn’t spend a year tossing a coin to make decisions.

Nor have I ever proposed to someone on the London Eye, or anywhere for that matter. However, some parts of The Flip Side are inspired by my real life. I think it's common for authors - especially in their debut novel - to mine their lives for anecdotes. After all, they say write what you know... to read more click HERE