What was your favourite childhood book and why?
Paddington Bear. It was read to me as a child as I used to really struggle reading it on my own. When I was fourteen and had finally learnt to read properly, I read them all in a row. I simply loved Paddington, I related to him so much. I felt like he was me; always getting something wrong, misunderstanding people and bumping into things, but never with any bad intentions!
Which of your own books is your favourite and why?
The Double Shadow. It got totally overshadowed (ha ha) by Maggot Moon; however, I was really proud of it. It’s the book that took me the longest to write as it was a complicated idea that encompassed the first and second world wars. It also dealt with the topic of young women getting into trouble. In particular, the heroine of the book (Amaryllis Ruben) has her drink spiked. I felt at the time (2013) it wasn’t something that was being discussed. It was on the cusp of being an adult book, I think. In truth, it nearly bankrupted me!
Why do you choose to read?
There is nothing quite like it. A book is your own private world. It is something that is always there for you. A story can absolutely transform your life and it can give you hours of happiness and entertainment. During lockdown I have had endless pleasure in PG Woodhouse, there is a music and wonder to his language. Books can make you think, fall in love and work out of problems. Reading is one of the greatest gifts we have and nothing else can promote a healthy brain like reading and questioning what we read.