Ruth Druart, The Last Hours in Paris

Ruth Druart, The Last Hours in Paris

1. It took me eighteen years to write my first book, While Paris Slept. First, I had to learn how to write, and I was teaching full-time as well as raising three boys. I started it when my last son was a few months old and found my agent the year he turned eighteen. His birth was the inspiration for the story.

2. I won my first writing competition when I was eleven years old with a story about a girl who gets a monkey for her birthday.

3. As a child I could see the sea from my bedroom window and spent a lot of time gazing out at it. There’s something about the vastness of the ocean that I find both terrifying and inspiring. I wrote the best parts of both While Paris Slept and The Last Hours in Paris sitting in my friend’s wonky beach hut on the Isle of Wight, with only the sea to stare at. And no WIFI!

4. I spent a lot of my childhood day-dreaming and never listened to a thing at school, but still wanting to do well, I caught up on everything after school by asking the girl who lived opposite to help me with my homework. I’m sure that’s why she did so well in her ‘A’ levels! Being a teacher myself, I realise I probably had ADD (attention deficit disorder), without the ‘H’ (ADHD - attention deficit, hyper-activity disorder), so none of the teachers noticed. I spent my days happily day-dreaming, oddly oblivious at the time as to what I was doing and the time I was wasting.

5. I studied the sciences for ‘A’ levels, then went on to read psychology at Leicester University. I have always been fascinated by what goes on in our heads.

6. I started my career with Price Waterhouse as a trainee management consultant. On my first day, I knew I was in the wrong place, but it changed my life in ways I could never have imagined. I stayed nearly two years - time to pay off my student loan, save some money, and do a TEFL course so I could travel the world, teaching English, but I didn’t get further than Paris! I’d met a French man at work, who would later become my husband. We were on the same project, sitting opposite each other, giggling away, till our team leader subtly moved the French man to another desk. After that we had to arrange to see each other!

7. It’s always been my dream to sail around the world, but I didn’t grow up learning to sail, even though I was brought up on the Isle of Wight. When I hit my late forties I decided it was high-time to learn if I ever wanted to realise my dream, so I went on a week-long course in Croatia and passed my day skipper’s license. Since then, I have skippered sailing holidays with girl friends in the Greek Islands, and this year we’re going to Turkey. I’m looking for an Atlantic crossing next.