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I have been immersing myself in history, real and fictional, for as long as I can remember. My first attempt at historical fiction at the age of eight was three pages of improbable medieval drama set in the local castle. Some considerable time later I joined forces with a friend and became one half of the writing partnership Francesca Shaw – what began as a decidedly tipsy storytelling session in a Burgundian vineyard led on to a series of Historical Romances, all but one set in the Regency period. Career changes meant that the partnership ended after eight books and I now write alone about my favourite historical period – which means I can keep all her gorgeous heroes to myself.
I live in England in a village on the North Norfolk coast with my long-suffering husband who is not only a wonderful cook, but also the perfect inspiration for every romantic hero imaginable. We have no pets, we are permitted to share the garden with a very bossy pheasant called Percy.
With a degree in geography and archaeology, I find landscapes and places are a powerful influence on my writing, and ideas for plots and characters often arise directly out of locations. Venice, Burgundy, the Hertfordshire and Norfolk countryside, the Greek islands - all have proved inspirational.
I write in my head until the story can't be contained any longer and has to get out and onto paper, an unpredictable process as the hero and heroine are quite likely to take over and ruin all my pathetic attempts to keep to any sort of plan. I console myself with the thought that it is, after all, their story.
Casablanca. Books I love: The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer, The Diaries of Samuel Pepys, The Game of Kings by Dorothy Dunnet (and all the Lymond series), Equal Rites by Terry Pratchet and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen