1) Following open-heart surgery at seven for a hole in my heart, I had home tuition for six months. The two things I remember most about that time was learning about dinosaurs and discovering how to write stories and I’ve been hooked ever since. On writing that is, not dinosaurs.
2) I wrote my first novel when I was eight. It was called London’s Burning and was about two friends miraculously going back in time to the Great Fire of London. It was undoubtedly the inspiration behind Time Shifters, the time travel adventure story for children that I’m working on.
3) Ever since I saw the most adorable Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy in the Inn on the Pier when I was a student in Aberystwyth, I’ve wanted one. Fast forward 14 years and in September 2011 my husband and I got one, a Blenheim Cavalier called Frodo, also known as Frodolicious because he is just that cute.
4) I’ve appeared – albeit briefly – in Vanity Fair with Reece Witherspoon, King Arthur with Ray Winston and The Duchess with Keira Knightly. I’ve even attempted to dance (I am definitely not a dancer) along with Hugh Laurie and a handful of fellow extras in the TV costume drama, The Young Visitors.
5) The book I would have loved to have written is The Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks. 1. Because it’s beautifully written, 2. because it’s an incredibly moving story and 3. because I’m fascinated by that time – the plague, the Great Fire of London and the whole Restoration period.
6) I’m accident prone. When I was a kid I ran into the playground wall and knocked myself out, got hit on the thumb with a wooden hockey stick, and ran into a metal pole on a climbing frame in a campsite playground. Needless to say I ended up with a very swollen black eye. As an adult I’ve fainted and landed face down on the bathroom floor resulting in another black eye, caught my thumb in the front door of my student house in Aberystwyth, (and managed to lock myself out with blood streaming down my hand), and badly injured my thigh on the wall of a jetty after falling whilst getting off a boat in the Maldives.
7) I find cooking relaxing and love discovering new recipes. Old favourites are Greek dishes Pastitsio and red beef with orzo pasta, Thai prawn curry and stir fry beef with pak choi. My Mum’s a great cook and so was her Mum. Every Christmas when we arrived at my grandparent’s farmhouse in Norfolk after a six hour plus drive across the country we’d be greeted by the delicious smell of Grandma’s lasagne baking in the oven.
8) I would love to live by the sea. I spent three years as a student living in Aberystwyth on the beautiful west coast of Wales and I’ve wanted to live by the sea ever since. My grandparents lived only a mile away from the wild north Norfolk coast and my parents-in-law live close to Paralia (which translates as ‘the beach’), on the coast of mainland Greece. A little place overlooking the Aegean would suit me just fine.
9) Over the years I’ve had my fair share of jobs. The most memorable one was working at Edgebaston Tennis Tournament as one of the ground staff, pulling on the covers when it rained and personally drying the wet patch on the court prior to Steffi Graff playing. The worst job I had was the two days I spent picking runner beans on a fruit and veg farm on the outskirts of Bristol. It rained, I ended up with rashes on my arms and I only earned £8 the first day and £9 the second.
10) It took four years and five months, plus four cycles of fertility treatment and a 48 hour labour to finally get our gorgeous little boy who was born in February 2014. He was worth the wait.