My dreams (nightmares) nearly always involve the characters and settings that I’m currently writing about. For example, last night I dreamt that I’d abducted a baby and tried to hide him in my husband’s car, but I couldn’t get the doors to lock. It was awful! Maybe I’d have a better night’s sleep if I wrote rom coms.

Shalini Boland

Shalini Boland

I love all fruit except bananas. The smell, texture, taste – ugh. No. Just no. Keep that evil fruit away from me.

I write for a living, and so does my husband, but neither of our children are particularly avid readers. My eldest is dyslexic and has never enjoyed reading or writing. My youngest quite enjoys it, but has to be pretty much forced into trying a new book. How did this happen? I have no idea. We always read to them when they were younger. We have a houseful of all kinds of books. Ah, well, I’ll keep trying.

When I was nineteen, I hitchhiked at night in Israel and ended up in the middle of nowhere convinced I was going to die. Turns out I only needed to walk another two minutes to find myself back at the kibbutz where I was staying. I’ve never hitchhiked since.

My writing companion is a little Poodle/Lhasa Apso/Terrier cross called Jess who sits at my feet while I type. Sometimes she sneaks up onto the sofa and rests her chin on my keyboard. I’m not sure I could write without her nearby.

When we were in our twenties, my husband and I set up VW car shows. Our events were all jinxed. Over the course of six shows we had four instances of major theft, a forest fire, the worst storm on record, someone set up illegal rave, an outbreak of foot and mouth disease, and an actual bomb scare with police cordoning off the area and evacuating everyone. Plus, we only made a profit during our first show, the other times we just about broke even. Not a huge success.

Nearly all my novels are set in and around the area of Dorset where I live. I moved here when I was eighteen, but I feel like this is my true home. I love it – the towns, beaches and countryside are beautiful.

Good coffee and chocolate are my weaknesses.

I used to be a singer songwriter and once sang on stage at The Brixton Academy in front of four thousand people. I don’t know how I did it. I’m such an introvert these days.

I feel very lucky to write for a living. Every day, I’m truly thankful and appreciate that I’ve finally discovered what it is I love to do – it only took me forty years to work it out! It isn’t always easy and some days I need a kick up the backside to stop procrastinating and get working. Other days are overwhelming and I do get anxious about what my readers will think of each book. But I wouldn’t change it for the world. I only hope people will continue to enjoy my books and allow me to keep doing what I love.