How did you come up with the idea of the Witches?
I am a real believer in the fact that one of the things that make us strong as women is our ability to talk about our problems with our friends. It’s something that men find hard to do, and I am sure that all my lady readers out there will identify with the sheer bliss of being able to have a good old therapeutic gossip with girlfriends. So when writing my books I found that I wanted my characters to have their own weekly off loading sessions as well. The idea of calling them the Witches came from a couple of things. When I first started writing the books I lived in the town of Dorking in Surrey right on the edge of the Glory Woods and whilst doing some research online about the woods I found a book written by Harriet Powell called ‘The Little People of Glory Wood’. It was a children’s book with delightful illustrations, but it was the title that captured my imagination. I loved the idea of my girls with all their gossiping and banter becoming ‘The Witches of Glory Woods’, and then of course I took some inspiration from the three witches in Shakespeare’s Macbeth, hence the ‘cauldron meetings’. It’s a great satisfaction to me that so many of you can identify with them.
Who are the characters based on?
I have had great fun with my friends who keep finding similarities in one or other of the Witches to people that we know. The truth is that they are not based on any one person but made up of the qualities and personalities of many people that I have met in my life time. Although if I’m being completely honest, Maggie is based almost solely on one very beautiful friend of mine but she is so unaware of her own beauty, that she wouldn’t believe me if I told her.
Is Kenley an actual place?
Yes it is… it’s a little town in Surrey, although the real town bears little resemblance to the tiny village that I have described in my books. However Kenley Common is where I walked my two dogs for years and it is one of my favourite places.
Which is your favourite book in the series?
At the moment my favourite is ‘Bad Things Happen’ it is the one that I felt the most satisfied with when I had finished it…having said that I am enjoying the book that I am writing at the moment and I think it is shaping up nicely to be my new favourite.
Where do you get your ideas?
I really don’t know, they can come from anywhere a news piece, a film on TV or even from conversations I have had with friends. Something will just resonate with me and I will start to create a story around it.
When did you know you could write?
I have always wanted to write, and I did start many books over the years but with five children to bring up I never seemed to have the time to get really stuck into it. Then my son Marcus asked me to write a story for the comic that he was producing, about the little characters in the comic and their adventures and so I wrote my first book, it is called ‘The Adventures of Robob’. Unfortunately other than in serial form in the comics it has never been published, but I am working on it and I hope it will be one day.
I was delightfully surprised at the amount of positive feedback that I got from ‘Robob’ and was encouraged to try my hand at ‘grown up’ novels and so began my first book ‘Mummy’s Little Girl’ and I have never looked back.
Where do you go to write?
I write in my living room, on my sofa, with my little west highland terrier Doogie lying on my feet and a cup of tea by my side.
How long does it take to write a book?
On average it has been taking me about five months to write it and then about a week or so to edit and publish it.
Who is your favourite author?
This is such a hard question, because I have many favourite authors who write in different genres. In the classics it has to be of course Jane Austen, for comedy I love Noel Coward, Helen Fielding and Jilly Cooper, historical romance, Georgette Heyer and Jude Morgan and for crime thrillers the incomparable Patricia Cornwell, Karin Slaughter and Stieg Larsson.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Just keep at it, and don’t be down heartened if you don’t succeed first time, try and try again.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I think all my books have quite a moral undertone, I don’t know if this is because I want to send out that message or if that’s just how my characters think. But I think that all the witches have a strong sense of what’s right and wrong and they try to be true to themselves…I wouldn’t like them any other way.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I would have loved to have met Georgette Heyer, even though I know I write in a completely different genre. She wrote with such wit and vivacity and her books thrilled me as a young girl, instilling in me a deep love for reading, I would love to have her talent.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
Well I wanted to be a mother, and happily my wish came true and I had five beautiful children. I tried my hand at a number of things over the years, I was an aerobics instructor in the eighties, a children’s Nanny in the nineties, I tried my hand at floristry in the naughties and then I found writing…and I love it!
What is your favourite film?
Another tough question…I suppose one of my very favourites is ‘The Piano’ but I love ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’. All of the Godfather films, ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ and of course ‘Bridget Jones’, but again there are so many it’s hard to pick just one.
What do you do in your spare time?
I visit National Trust places with my wonderful husband Steve, I walk my dog, I read and I meet with my beloved daughters-