Not everything can have a fairytale ending, but love in all its forms is a great healer.
The heroines in your books are admirably strong and resilient women – what draws you to these characters?
I prefer to write about women in their mid to late thirties, which is a very interesting age, because they have already been shaped by the events of their pasts into the characters they are today. Once I understand what has formed their characters, I know how they will behave in the situations they find themselves in in my novels (although they do very often surprise me). Your thirties are also a good time to take stock and reinvent yourself, too…
Most of my closest friends are traditionally published novelists and so have shared a similar life experience of rejection, reinvention and self motivation, while simultaneously juggling family life, and often jobs, with their writing. That makes you strong and resilient. It also makes you very supportive of each other, a whole Midwich Cuckoo group of women who understand the difficulties one of us is facing, without having to be told.
What characters from your books would you most like to have dinner with and why?
Oh, there are so many! I’d love to have dinner with the Rhymer family from Every Woman for Herself – and I’d really love to visit Alice’s teashop (from my new book) and be served delicious cakes by the rudest waitresses in Yorkshire!
Are any of your characters based on people from your real life?
No, I never base my characters on people I know or have met! The people inside my head are much more interesting…
Your descriptions of Alice Rose’s baking in The Little Teashop of Lost and Found left us feeling hungry! Are you a keen baker yourself?
Yes, I love to bake and like to find new twists on old favourites. I am not in favour of adding huge amounts of sugar to my baking…except when it comes to the fondant on celebration cakes! Here’s one I made for the launch of an earlier book, Wedding Tiers, in the shape of an Elizabethan pomander. I baked the rich fruit cake base in an enormous Christmas pudding mould, covered it in marzipan and icing, then stuck on millions of icing rosebuds, which I’d spent several days making in batches.