Is there a particular book, essay, or poem that made you want to write?
I can't say there was one in particular. I just remember being surrounded by books and always loving them. I'm told I was reading by three and liked reading diaries, especially my older sister's. I grew up on British books mostly, living in South Africa and Scotland when I was young, so titles may be unfamiliar, but they were all tales of adventure with no parents around to ruin the fun. I remember first thinking seriously of publishing a book at 10 or 11 because I thought it would be such a wonderful feeling to dedicate a book to someone — at that time, it would've been my mother or my school's headmistress. They're both still worthy of book tributes.
What's the number one thing that distracts you when you're trying to write?
Noise of any kind — phone, leaf blower outside, kids inside, even music. I can listen to music to inspire my writing but not when I'm actually writing.
If you could write from any location, where would it be?
A castle turret overlooking beautiful gardens (complete with labyrinth to wander in when I need to think) and, beyond that, the sea. It would be sunny, warm and breezy. My turret room would be equipped with coffee, tea, chocolate, cheese and a laptop with high speed internet connection. Lots of books and maps, too, on whatever topic I'm researching, and a comfy window seat for reading (and, OK, naps). Really, I ask for so little.