Here are some answers to questions people often ask:
What’s your favourite book?
That’s easy. War and Peace.
What was your favourite kids’ book when you were little?
That’s harder. Maybe The Secret Garden. Also I’m still not very big.
Where do you get your ideas?
I don’t know. They seem to get me.
What would you be if you weren’t a writer?
I would have liked to be an archaeologist, but I thought you had to be good at maths. And I’m really not. (That turns out not to be true, and I’ve been thinking about studying archaeology recently!)
Why do you always write about swordfighting?
I fenced when I was at school and I still think it’s the most fascinating thing. Sometimes I try not to write about swordfighting but it just works its way in somehow.
Actually, there are no sword fights in Act of Faith or The Sultan’s Eyes, just a bit of dagger brandishing. But there are duels aplenty in the ‘Swashbuckler’ books and Goddess.
Who was your favourite author when you were young?
Geoffrey Trease. Or maybe Leon Garfield. Can you tell?
Do you write with a computer or pen and paper?
Both. I carry notebooks with me wherever I go and scribble things in them – sometimes just notes, other times whole scenes. Then I type the notes up on my laptop later. I use Scrivener for writing and editing my work, and I often use spreadsheets for planning out the action and pace.
How long does it take to write a book?
For me, it takes about a year and a half or two, but it depends on the book. Goddess took five years. Because I write historical fiction, there’s an awful lot of research that goes on, and that alone can take months.