I was born in Northamptonshire but came to Bristol when I was 13 to study at Badminton School. My boarding school experience was great – I loved the independence and how close our friendships grew. My dad is from Somerset, and my husband’s sister moved down a few years ago, so there was always a pull south-west. I knew I’d come back later in life, because I love the city so much. After university in Brighton and employment in London, we decided to bite the bullet and up sticks. Getting out of the Big Smoke was great for my state of mind, and the space and peace I find so helpful when I write; but we lost nothing, because Bristol has all the exciting, vibrant, creative hallmarks of the capital alongside those things.
What do you rate about this city?
The variety is one thing. You’ve got the polished shops and cafés of Clifton, together with the jewel of the suspension bridge, then the wild history of the gorge and the lush green spread of the Downs. There’s the liveliness of Park Street and the winding alleys of the old town; then being close to the water is an added bonus. Bristol has a great situation geographically, too: a gateway to the beautiful counties of Devon, Somerset and Cornwall, and also those gorgeous beaches in Wales. Some of my favourite bands are from Bristol – Portishead, Massive Attack – and the city has always felt creatively important. I think Bristol attracts people who are unafraid to express themselves. It’s a very cool place.
Tell us a bit about your new book, The Santiago Sisters
It’s a sexy, escapist beach read set between the dusty pampas of South America, the polished mansions of Europe and the glitz of Hollywood. Twin Argentine sisters Calida and Teresa are torn apart in their teens when an A-list actress jets in and adopts one of them. So begins an explosive adventure of rivalry, revenge and retribution – and tango!
What are you reading or listening to now?
I’m reading Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff and listening to Jamie XX, In Colour.
Which foodie spot are you loving?
Last year we moved to the Chew Valley so it has to be Salt & Malt at the lake – glorious on a sunny day. The other night we went to The Pig near Bath, which has a fantastic atmosphere and delicious negronis!
Favourite watering hole in Bristol?
That’s a tough one. I’ll say The Prince of Wales on Gloucester Road, because it’s late opening and has a good beer garden.
Which Bristol creatives do you admire?
There’s a gang of us who meet on The Glass Boat for lunch, chats and fizz. I admire them all so much for their friendship, wisdom and writing: Jill Mansell, Kate Riordan, Lucy Robinson, Lucy Diamond, C L Taylor, Emylia Hall, Veronica Henry, Karen Swan and Victoria Routledge.
I’m currently editing my next book, a Gothic timeslip saga set in Florence.