My day job is writing and verifying questions for TV quiz shows including Mastermind, University Challenge and Pointless. The hours I spend trawling through books and online have resulted in lots of story ideas.

Sarah Dunnakey

Sarah Dunnakey

I'm a fell runner and I love running across the moors above my home town. It's hard to beat the feeling of an evening run across peat and heather in the fading light, catching the last of the day's sun.

I trained as a librarian, which included a year at the British Library in London. It was during a placement there at the National Sound Archive that I became fascinated with oral history and its ability to capture amazing and important stories.

I have a passion for vintage clothes, especially dresses and love looking for them in charity shops, vintage stores and fairs. My favourite is a 1930s M&S wrap dress in a blue and pink floral print.

When I am writing I always listen to music, usually the same album over and over again. For The Companion it was 'Standing at the Sky's Edge' by Richard Hawley. I would play it on a loop whenever I was writing and no matter where I was – in a cafe, on a train, waiting in the car to pick my daughter up, I would be back in 'the zone' as soon as the first bars of the first track began.

When the nights start drawing in and there's a proper autumnal chill in the air I pull on a pair of big woolly socks. I hate to see then wear out, so I'm happy to get out my darning needle and wool as soon as holes begin to appear.

I love spy fiction, particularly anything by John le Carre.  I always take one of his novels on my summer holidays –  'A Perfect Spy' is in my all time Top Five books. While I like to think I'd make a good spy (I love cryptic crosswords and foreign travel) I don't think I'd be much use as I'd always choose telling a good story over keeping a secret.

I used to dislike and be afraid of dogs. But since my family persuaded me to accept a Cockapoo into our lives I've completely changed my mind.

I live in the South Pennines a long way from the coast on either side, but my favourite place to be is by the sea. I grew up on the north east coast and a lot of my childhood memories involve days on the beach digging in the sand, collecting shells and plucking up the courage to run into the sea. I love standing on the shore, toes sinking into the sand, water lapping at my ankles and feeling on the edge of something wild and dangerous.

My favourite flavour is rhubarb, whether it's in pies, cakes or whipped with cream to make a fool. My recent discoveries are rhubarb cider and homemade rhubarb gin.

THE COMPANION by Sarah Dunnakey is published by Orion Books on 27th July 2017