I was late learning to read and write. I was an army kid but my first school was civilian and oversubscribed so didn't take me until I was well over five years old. Then we moved to Malta where I caught up with my appropriate year group in an army school. The teacher took a while to realise that nobody had taught me literacy. I was completely at sea and constantly being ranted at. Once she realised the situation and did teach me it all began to click and I discovered the fantastic world of fiction, both to read and to write. All the army schools I attended were good but I wouldn't mind a quiet word with that teacher.

Sue Moorcroft

Sue Moorcroft

I'm a fanatic follower of Formula 1 and adore everything to do with it. Heaven, to me, is to watch all three practice sessions, qualifying and the race in silence. The exception is when I shriek at the TV during a race or disagree with the commentators. If I have to record a race because of some other call on my time I feel gloomy and twitchy until I've been able to sit down and watch so if you meet me in these circumstances please do not tell me the result!

I'm a Malta-phile. My father was posted to Malta twice in his army career so by the time we left when I was eight and a half I'd lived there for nearly five years. What we called 'home', the UK, was an alien place full of things like sleet, snow and frost. I return to Malta whenever I can. I love the weather, the architecture, the people, the sea and the pavement-café culture (to include Cisk beer and pastizzi).

I sold my first short story to a magazine twenty years ago. The long ached-for letter of acceptance arrived on April the 1st and I worried it could be an April Fool. (Could anybody be that cruel?) I spent the fee on a new computer chair. It had a slightly woolly covering and gave me a rash on my bum.

I love to travel, so long as it's safe and comfortable. I'm definitely not cut out for backpacking through war zones but I've been lucky enough to lead courses and retreats in Italy and France, attend conferences and lead workshops in America, and I'm looking forward to teaching at the Dubai Writers' Center and appearing at the Emirates Airlines Festival of Literature in 2017.

I love writers' conferences. I rarely miss the Romantic Novelists' Association annual conference and have made it to the RT Booklovers convention in America twice, attended FantasyCon for several years and have been to the Historical Novel Society conference - it doesn't matter to me whether conferences are appropriate to my genre. I've accepted modest teaching fees if it means I get a writers' holiday thrown in because when I'm with writers I feel as if I'm with my tribe. The other side of this lovely coin is to meet readers at literary festivals and other readers' events. I have a two- or three-book-a-week habit so I'm every bit as much a reader as I am a writer.

I was born in Germany but left when I was six weeks old. I can order beer in German - large beer, small beer, white beer, brown beer, lager beer and shandy, but that's about it so far as my skill with the language goes. I was really thrilled when The Christmas Promise went into German translation for Christmas 2016.

I've lived in my current home for more than twenty years and for most of it thought I could hear vehicles drawing up in the gravel drive when none had actually appeared. As I love cars I thought if I had a friendly ghost it was appropriate that he or she should arrive driving. Disappointingly, I've just found out the noise comes from my hot water system.

I love research. My most exciting research trip was for my May 2017 book, Just for the Holidays, when a pilot took me up in a helicopter and pretend-crashed. If a helicopter engine cuts mid-flight pilots instantly perform auto-rotation, the art of pitching the angle of descent so that the air keeps the rotors turning. You get down from 2000 feet very quickly, then at 10 feet the pilot 'flares' the helicopter to halt momentum and performs a dinky little run-on landing as if there was nothing wrong. You may have to take my word for this but it's awesome.

My favourite Christmas present ever was a bubble-gum-pink space hopper when I was seven. I adored it and bounced about on it much more than I rode my bike or roller skates.

My worst Christmas present ever was citrus body lotion when I was a teen. I decided that I was now grown up enough to shave my legs then I applied this citrus lotion … scarlet burning skin swiftly followed! I think I threw the bottle in the bin.

Sue Moorcroft's new book, The Christmas Promise (Avon), is about hat-maker Ava Bliss, Christmas, revenge porn, illness, golden-boy Sam Jermyn, a WAG named Booby Ruby … and a promise that Ava finds increasingly hard to keep.