The Montmorency books grew out of stories I made up for my children at bedtime. I told them all sorts of stories, but they wanted to hear about Montmorency more and more, and before long he seemed almost like a member of the family. Over the years I did quite a lot of background research, with a vague intention of writing a book, but a couple of house moves meant my notes all got lost. Then I finally sat down and started writing when my husband was busy with a book about Tony Blair. I suppose I was jealous that he was getting to shut himself away with his work.
I did the first draft when we were on holiday in Crete in the summer of 2001. I worked mainly at nighttime when it was cool.
I still do a lot of my writing during the night. Jim goes to work at 3am (he presents the BBC 'Today' programme on the radio), and I often have trouble getting back to sleep after he's gone. It's a great time to work because the phones don't ring, and the children are asleep and undemanding.
I always wanted to write, but was a bit scared of drawing attention to myself. Recently, I went to visit my old primary school, and was reminded that when I was 6 years old I was on the TV news reading a tiny extract from a story I had written. I now have a video of that — proof that I started at a very early age!