I live in a little cottage with roses around the door. It was a wreck when we bought it, but now it is a listed gem and we feel very lucky to live here, although there is ice on the insides of the windows in the winter and the maintenance is never ending.
I am blind in one eye. I was born with it and unfortunately it wasn’t spotted until it was too late to fix. Sometimes I feel I have missed out on some amazing career for which you need two good eyes… tennis player? Fighter pilot? Mostly I don’t care, although I wonder if other people find it easier to put on eye makeup than I do.
The mysterious ‘thing’ that Maddy can’t properly remember in ‘The Homecoming’ – the first in the Havenbury series – actually happened to me in real life. I was badly injured, and the exact events still elude me, but I have made my peace with that now, partly through writing this book.
I live near Arundel in West Sussex and the fictional world of Havenbury is totally and unashamedly based on where I live. Are the characters and plots drawn from real life too? Inevitably, in part… but not recognisably so (hopefully). My village is like a cross between The Archers and Twin Peaks and there is always the most fantastic gossip to be had when I walk the dog.
The thing I am most proud of is setting up a charity to fund a new childcare building in our village. We now have fantastic childcare, run by the charity for the benefit of the local community, but by the time we got it done my children were too old to need it.
The thing I am least proud of is my inability to dance. At all. On the bright side, when I get drunk and forget this critical fact I cause excruciating embarrassment to my children. I find this very entertaining and also think it’s character forming for them, along with the ice on the insides of the windows which – they have told me – is abuse.
The power of the internet scares me. I am particularly freaked out at how Google advertises things it thinks I might be interested in all the time, giving away my sneaky ‘Mint Velvet’ browsing secrets – although, as I write this, I am being invited to “Meet single women in Burgess Hill” which suggests Google isn’t as clever as it thinks it is.
I have an Aga which I absolutely adore, and which fulfils a lifelong desire to own one. My husband still has no idea how much it cost but it was more than we have ever spent on a car. I love to cook though, so everyone benefits, and I even make my own bread in it.
I used to work in public relations where you get to write a lot but making things up is frowned up. Switching to writing novels was a relief because it gives full rein to my imagination.
Obviously I love my family but probably my favourite person in the world is my little black labrador, Rosie. Yes, she inspired my pen name. My dog also features heavily in the second Havenbury book, ‘A Vintage Year’ which is set in a Sussex vineyard and is due out early next year.