Q. Did you always want to be a writer?
A: No, it was something that sneaked up on me when I was in my late twenties. I certainly didn’t think of ever being a bona fide author, I just thought of it as an enjoyable hobby, something to do while my sons were at school and nursery. Having always loved to lose myself in a good book, I was curious to know if writing one myself would give me the same pleasure and sense of escapism. Guess what, it did!
Q. Where do you live?
A: I live in Suffolk, having moved to this part of the county in 2014 after living most of my adult life in the north of England as well as a few years spent in Belgium. I feel very ‘at home’ here in Suffolk and am delighted I made the move. I live in a lovely five-hundred-year-old thatched cottage which overlooks the village green, so I’m basically channelling Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple!
Suffolk is known for its wide open skies and I’m so lucky to have these wonderful views of the landscape right on my doorstep.
Q: Are you at all competitive?
A: I always think of myself as the least competitive person there is, but actually it’s not true. Challenge me to a game of air hockey and I suddenly grow horns and become a fiercely competitive monster - if it were ever made into an Olympic sport, I’d be a world champion! There are few things in life I play to win, but air hockey is definitely one of them, just ask my sons who have witnessed many a scary glint in my eye when I suggest we have a game. I’m now coaching my grandson to be a demon player.
Q: What do you find it easy to switch off from work and relax?
A: I don’t think writers ever really switch off; I know I certainly don’t. I’m either thinking of the book I’m currently writing, or perhaps thinking about the one that’s just been published and which I’m promoting, or I’m mulling over a potential idea for the next book. But when I’m not actually writing, I love nothing better than to ‘play out’ in my garden. The hours can simply fly by when I’m pottering about in the borders, planting, weeding, deadheading or ruthlessly hacking back. But if it’s raining too hard to garden and I’m confined to quarters, I’ll occupy myself with the latest knitting project I have on the go, or a piece of needlepoint.
A more recent interest I’ve thrown myself into with great zeal is the world of doll’s houses and miniatures. It’s a fascinating and absorbing hobby with enthusiasts from all around the world, following many of them on Instagram has been an eye-opening experience.
(To find out more and see pictures of Erica’s doll's houses view the Doll's Houses pages.
Q: If you weren’t a writer what would be the dream job?
A: I’d be a Formula 1 driver! I’m a big fan of the sport and watch it avidly, but I suspect I would be a terrible driver as I wouldn’t understand the mechanics or technical sides of things which is a crucial part of the job. I was lucky enough to spend a fabulous day at Mercedes-Benz World when I had a track driving experience with an instructor. It was one of the most exhilarating things I’ve ever done.
Q: What were your favourite subjects at school?
A: French, History and English. I quite liked Rural Studies, but then that was mostly an hour of messing about in a greenhouse, so what’s not to like? There’s a scene in Gardens of Delight that I pinched from one of those ‘messing about’ lessons, it involves a hose and some flowerpots … Sadly, I was a total dunderhead when it came to Science and Maths. I still am. And don’t ask me about my IT skills!
Q: What scares you?
A: Public speaking. There’s nothing more terrifying than that moment at a book event when I’ve just been introduced to the audience and, with all eyes on me, I have to stand up and start talking.
(To find out more, read Erica’s article, My Very Public Humiliation; the perils and pitfalls of the promotional tour.)