Q: When did you know that you wanted to be a writer?
A: When I was twelve. My family were suffering a rather hard up Christmas, and instead of the usual stocking full, I was given two presents, a half crown and the novel 'Forever Amber' I lost myself in it, couldn't bear it when it came to an end, and so wrote a sequel for myself, called 'Always Alice' twenty pages or so of childish fantasy, but a start.
Q: Who has been your biggest inspiration.
A: I would say what rather than who - And that would be The Virago Modern Classics. They launched a list celebrating women writers in 1978. Starting with Antonia White's 'Frost in May' I read them all, the best present I ever gave myself.
Q: How do you create the characters in your books? Are they based on people you know.
A: The main protagonist is always very clear to me, the other characters seem to dance or sneak their way onto the page surprising even me. They are not intentionally based on people I know, at least not the whole person - habits maybe- ways of speaking - snobberies - deceits etc.
Q: What is the one book you think everyone should read.
A. Tempting to say mine, of course. But seriously it would be hard to choose one out of all the different cultures, different centuries, different traditions that have impressed me. I will always feel lucky though that I had the sense to read , Zola's 'Therese Raquin'. I guess I like a bit of dark, and I saw so many truths in it. Long after reading it, I lived with Therese under the dripping Pont Neuf, felt for her even though she was awful.
Q: If you weren't a writer , what would be your profession?
A: If I had the talent for it, a film director. If I had the brains, a professor of American Literature in some fancy Ivy League college. Suspect I have neither.
Q: If you could trade places with anyone in the world, past or present, real or fiction, who would it be and why?
A: Victoria Coren. Blonde, beautiful, writes like a dream, and plays international poker.
Q: If you were stranded on a desert island and could only have 3 things, what would they be?
A: A boat, a mobile phone and chocolate. If these are not allowed, then, a bed, moisturiser and a stack of A4 paper.
Q: What is your favourite movie of all time.
A: A Touch of Class.
Q: What is the one thing that you want all your fans to know.
A: That we belong together.
Q: If you could invite 5 people to dinner, who would they be and why?
A: My character Eastern Jewel: to see if I was right.
Tommy Lee-Jones. Because he's the best.
Shakira Caine. To add her cool brand of stylish glamour.
Jean Cocteau. To doodle on my tablecloth.
Ricky Gervais. Someone has to make us laugh.