Why do you write?
Because I have to. I began to write full time after I had retired from teaching, but I have wanted to write since I was a little girl. Now it is what I do.
Is writing your first love or do you have another passion?
Words, words, words…as Hamlet said. I have always loved to read and it feeds both the imagination and the writing.
What was the first book that made you cry?
Jane Eyre. I read it when I was eleven and I was terrified she would make the terrible mistake of marrying St. John Rivers. But then she is reunited with Rochester. “Reader, I married him.” What a sentence!
What is the hardest thing about being a writer?
Continuing to write when you don’t think it’s going very well.
Name a fictional character you consider a friend.
I don’t really consider any of the characters I like as friends, but I did become very fond of my heroines when I was creating them: Anna in When Sorrows Come and Natalya in Driven Into Exile and Bread and Salt.
Did getting published change your perception of writing?
I self-publish so my experience might be different from main stream writers. What I really appreciate about my books being available worldwide is the response from readers. It gives me great encouragement to go on writing.
Who inspires you and why?
So many good writers…Margaret Atwood, Maggie O’Farrell, Anne Applebaum. I could go on! I love their intelligence and the clarity and richness of their prose.
Which book deserves more readers?
Apart from mine? No, I’m joking. I think everyone should read more. Books enable us to learn to empathise with those people and cultures we don’t know. Books make us better human beings.
Do you have any friends that are writers? If so, do you show each other early drafts?
I belong to a wonderful group of writers based in Newark. They are the Fosseway Writers and, apart from being really good writers themselves, they are very supportive and encouraging. We regularly share our work and discuss ways to improve our writing.
Who or what are you most excited to see at Newark Book Festival in July?
See above…The Fosseway Writers are hoping to publish their first collaborative novel in time for the festival and it will be available to buy on their stall in the Literature Quarter. You’ll find me at the neighbouring stall.