Why do you write?
I just can’t help myself – it began when I was six.
Is writing your first love or do you have another passion?
I am also a ‘crafter’ – a hand spinner, dyer and – most recently – a silversmith. I have found that I need to create with my hands as well as my head.
What was the first book that made you cry? Little Women. When Beth died I was inconsolable.
What is the hardest thing about being a writer?
Making a living.
Name a fictional character you consider a friend.
Penelope Hamilton, the American tourist who stars in Penelope’s Experiences in England, Ireland and Scotland, the 1890s trilogy by Kate Douglas Wiggin. I have followed in Penelope’s footsteps for two decades and written extensively about her.
Did getting published change your perception of writing?
No. I still write what I love and hope for the best.
Who inspires you and why?
Worksop writer Gwen Grant (Private, Keep Out), who has been my mentor and friend for more than twenty years.
Which book deserves more readers?
Forest Folk by James Prior – a Nottinghamshire classic first published in 1901 and now back in print – buy and enjoy!
Do you have any friends that are writers? If so, do you show each other early drafts?
Yes, many; I have been a member of one particular group for about 25 years. We still meet and read our work to one another.
Who or what are you most excited to see at Newark Book Festival in July?
Joanne Harris, without a doubt, a fine author and a brilliant speaker.