My family is very international! I currently live in Amsterdam in The Netherlands with my boyfriend who comes from Australia. With my family mostly in the UK and his family on the other side of the world, you may think Amsterdam is the last place we’d end up but actually it’s nice that we found a place that both of us love, without it being more him or more me, though admittedly it’s much closer to my family and friends in London!
2. How do you work through self-doubts and fear?
My honest and very unglamorous answer is that I have a big cry! I am a very emotional person and I’m not very good at hiding how I feel. I therefore find it natural to just work through self-doubt by talking about it with someone I love and trust (more often than not my Mum!) and if I need to, I just got to a quiet space and have a good old fashioned, body-shaking sob. There is nothing wrong with that in my mind!
As for fear, I find that the older I get the more I am able to understand the fears that I can face and the fears I can’t, or rather the fears I shouldn’t face. For example, as a travel I have been asked to do some pretty scary but amazing things, like the Edgewalk on the top of CN Tower in Toronto or spending five days winter camping in Northern Norway - these have prompted a fear I know I can beat and should because it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. Likewise, when it comes to writing, I love it too much to let the fear stop me; I did that for 30 years and that’s a hard fact to admit. But I also know there are some fears - mostly physical - that I know it’s okay not to face - like snowboarding miles off-piste or running a marathon - my body just won’t appreciate me trying to conquer those fears!
3. What scares you the most?
Never publishing another book; I’ve got so many great ideas and loud voices speaking to me at the moment, they need to be heard! My biggest fear is also anything bad happening to my family and friends.
4. What makes you happiest?
Gosh, so many things make me happy! Riding my bike, holding my boyfriend’s hand, playing with my baby nephew, drinking a cool glass of wine on a summer’s day, reading a good book, snowboarding down a mountain, swimming in the warm ocean, laughing with friends, learning new things… I could go on. But when it comes to writing, I suppose what makes me happiest is receiving an email from a reader who tells me that my writing had an impact on them. That definitely makes me happiest as a writer.
5. What is your favorite quality about yourself?
I love that I’m not afraid to feel things. They say that some cities like Melbourne and Cape Town go through all four seasons in a day, well, sometimes I feel like I have days like that too! I experience the highs with a huge smile and I suffer the lows with tears and pain. I should add I’m not like this every day and I used to hate it - especially when I was going through difficult times - but now I see it as a real strength. Because when I have calmer moments and I’m sat at my desk and writing about a character’s struggle, pain, happiness or other emotion, I find it very easy to recall those feelings and to put them into words.
6. What is your least favorite quality about yourself?
That I sometimes struggle to see the bigger picture. This relates to my achievements, my occasional lack of focus, my often inability to prioritise the work that matters most and the way I deal (or don’t deal!) with setbacks. Perspective is such a wonderful thing, but it does like to hide from me.
7. What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why?
“Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news. The good news is that you don't know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is!” - Anne Frank.
Genre – Short Stories, Contemporary Fiction
Rating – PG13