As I am based most of the time in England it is exciting to go to somewhere as different as Dubai. The organisation of the festival makes it possible to learn something about the country – the extraordinary city, the seaside areas and the desert – as well as to meet other writers from around the world.
When did you realise you wanted to be a writer?
I wrote my first novel when I was ten – about a girl and her horse. When I was fourteen I produced a magazine with friends. After university where I read English, I helped write documentaries in the UK and US. Only then did I find the confidence to take my writing seriously and had my first novel published when I was twenty-eight years old. I realised everything else had been leading up to that moment. Now I have had published twenty-one novels for adults and six for children. I cannot let a day pass without writing.
What book do you find yourself re-reading most often?
Chekhov’s short stories which produce new insights in every decade that I read them.
If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?
A painter. I paint as often as I can and will bring my paints to Dubai.
And finally, we have a number of aspiring writers attending the Festival. What one piece of advice would you give them?
Read constantly and write something every day. When you set yourself a writing project, always finish it. Sorry, that’s 3 pieces of advice!