I spend so much time making characters up in my head that I sometimes forget that they are the product of all of the people I’ve ever met, the things I’ve read, watched and listened to, and the stories other people have told me.

Victoria Scott, Grace

Victoria Scott, Grace

And while none of my characters are actually me, it’s certainly true that bits of me and my experiences have popped up in my books; both in Patience, my debut, and in my new novel, Grace. And I know I’m always really interested to know more about the writers whose books I love to read. So without further ado, here are seven things that I’d like my readers to know about me.

1) I grew up in Malvern, Worcestershire, where my second novel, Grace, is set. In fact, I actually grew up in a tiny hamlet about seven miles away, surrounded by sheep, cows and very loud ducks. There was one bus into town every week, but you had to wait a week to come back again. Having said that, Malvern is gorgeous and I adore climbing the Malvern Hills, which feed my soul.

2) I recently moved to an island on the Thames, and I’m becoming a photograph bore. As in “oh look, here’s the view from the lounge at sunset,” and “look, here’s one I took five minutes later,” and “ooh, here’s a heron.” I don’t think I’m a very good photographer, but I’m so in love with our new house, I can’t help it. I hope my friends and Instagram followers forgive me.

3) I practice intermittent fasting. Four years ago I was in a bit of a mess. I was approaching 40, drinking wine far too often and my weight had been creeping up for years. I weighed myself one sunny Spring day when I was feeling brave enough, and was shocked. Around that time I read Michael Mosley’s The Fast Diet. I took to it like a duck to water. I eventually lost 20kg, and I still have a fasting day once a week. It’s a great way of maintaining my weight, and it also has lots of added health benefits.

4) I’m a disability “sib.” That’s the term used for people who grew up with a disabled sibling. My sister, Clare has something called Rett syndrome and she was the inspiration for the character Patience in my first novel. Patience is a funny, clever, slightly sweary young woman who can’t communicate; that’s how I picture Clare, if she could talk.

5) I’m addicted to crisps. If you take me to a party, I’ll sit myself right by the crisps and hoover them up without even thinking about it. I can’t have them in the house, really, except for very special days when I allow myself free reign (basically Christmas Day and my birthday!)

6) I love to sing. I am sure I pretty much tortured my parents and anyone else unsuspecting with my “concerts” when I was a kid. Nowadays I mostly sing at home, but I have been known to sing in musicals and with choirs. I also ended up doing a large number of (recorded) solo hymn performances during lockdown, an unfortunate side-product of being married to the parish organist.

7) I’ve been a journalist for over 20 years. I started off as a radio newsreader, then moved into TV news production, and also spent six years in Qatar working as a freelancer. I now lecture in journalism at Kingston University, and I love it. I think it’s such a privileged and important job. Efforts to control access to free media outlets are growing more widespread worldwide; we need good journalists now more than ever.

Grace by Victoria Scott is publishing in Hardback on 7th July by Aria, imprint of Head of Zeus, priced at £20