Are your books plot driven or character driven?
Well, a good story needs both plot and character, but I firmly believe that the plot should come from the characters and the decisions they make, rather then have things happening to them. So that they are driving the story rather than the other way round. In other words, they are active rather than passive. And it's often the small things that happen in life that trigger a good story, rather than the huge things, although the emotional stakes need to be quite high to really engage the reader and make them want to know what happens next.
How important is setting to you?
Setting is very important to me and it's the first thing I decide upon when I start a new book. I tend to write about places I have loved being or would like to be. So for example The Long Weekend was inspired by The Old Quay House in Fowey, after I'd had a few stolen days away. As I sat on their harbour-side terrace I began to wonder about all the guests and why they were there - not just for a weekend in the sun, I was certain! A setting does not a story make, however - you need to people it with characters pretty quickly in order to get a narrative going - but a setting is often inspiring. My next book is set on the Orient Express - need I say more?
Why do you write multi-protagonist viewpoints?
I worked in television before I wrote novels, on multi-protagonist dramas such as Holby City, so I was trained to juggle a lot of characters and storylines and having them cross-pollinate, so I suppose it's just what I'm used to. I'd love to try a single protagonist piece though, one day. In fact, the book I am writing at the moment contains part of a diary, and I'm really enjoying writing it.
Is there a bit of you in every book?
Well, I suppose so. Not consciously, but I guess my core values and belief systems are embedded in what I write. And there's always a lot of food, and wine, and cocktails ... And I like to dress my characters in clothes I would like to wear, and decorate their houses with things I would love to have so ... there's your answer!