I have made my living as a writer since my son was born and I moved to France, to a battered old millhouse to the north of Paris. I started writing mostly about France for newspapers and magazines. My first piece for The Guardian was an interview with Agnes B, the fashion designer, whom I couldn’t get to say anything more than “I like to make women look nice.” Despite being rejected because it was “the worst thing” the editor had ever read and “beyond a rewrite”, I carried on writing for The Guardian and The Observer as well as anyone one else who liked my ideas for features.
In my twenties, I started writing novels. Despite a fantastic agent who took on my novel about my crazy area in London where I lived after leaving France when my son was two years old, I had no luck getting my book placed with the big publishers.
Still working as a freelancer and now with a lovely daughter, a strange experience started me writing again. I was walking the dog on the heath when I came across a small, cold and frightened barefoot boy. What happened next triggered the idea for my novel The Henry Experiment in which a child psychologist and childcare guru is pitted against a mother whose children have just left the home.
My novel explores our collective responsibility for children and the insecurity of parents who are vulnerable to different theories from “parenting experts”. It looks at how we become parents with spectres of our own childhoods still looming over our shoulders.
Oh, and I’ve tried to be funny because I’ve found that even in the most dire situations, humour always breaks through.