Among many, Bryony Gordon and Christina Lamb stand out. But I always make it a point to see as many people as I can, even if I don’t know anything about them. Actually, especially if I don’t know anything about them! Unexpected conversations in the Green Room are always the highlights of the Festival for me.
Which book has inspired you the most?
I can’t single out just one. I find something inspirational in many books, whether it’s a line, a sentence, a turn of phrase or an idea. I suppose I’m always indebted to The Passion Test by Chris Attwood and Janet Bray Attwood – reading it was an uncharacteristic delve into self-help books for me (I don’t usually go near them) but, really, this was the one book that made me actually get my ducks in a row and start writing fiction rather than just wafting about telling everyone that one day I was ‘going to write a book’.
What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?
On a weekday, I jump out of bed, throw on some shorts and a t-shirt and go downstairs to make breakfast for the family before I start putting together the children’s lunches and snacks for the day. I’m neither foodie nor cook so I always reflect on how ironic it is that the first 45 minutes of my day consists of acting like I’m some sort of sous chef or restaurant manager, but I guess that’s parenting for you. And no-one’s complained yet.
What is your life’s motto?
Seek out the positive: thoughts, people, ideas.
Our theme for the 2017 Festival is Journeys. Can you tell us which journeys in your life have been most memorable?
Without a doubt, the day my husband and I moved to Dubai 18 years ago, knowing we planned to stay for many, many years. I felt as if I was turning my back on my past, my family and my roots, while also being excited for the future. As it happened, the shippers ran late, we almost missed the flight, and I didn’t have much of a chance to reflect on what a huge move it was! Which is probably just as well.