The Infinite Wisdom of Harriet Rose has been compared to Sophie’s World and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. What do you see as the similarities?
The Infinite Wisdom of Harriet Rose is a philosophical novel, as is Sophie’s World, however I didn’t want it to be a novel which discussed in detail the views of prominent philosophers, although it is clear just how much Harriet is influenced by philosophers such as Kant, Descartes, Heraclitus and of course her hero Marcus Aurelius. But what also makes my novel philosophical is the way in which Harriet responds to the world around her and the thoughts she creates. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is considered an original novel, with a strong narrative voice, as is The Infinite Wisdom of Harriet Rose, but the subject matter of the two novels is very different.
What are your interests when you’re not writing?
Like my heroine Harriet Rose, I love playing chess. I play tennis most days with my husband (and sometimes in tournaments) even in Winter – if there’s half a court not covered with snow I’ll play on it! I enjoy playing table tennis (winner of numerous tournaments) and playing my violin (classically trained).
The Infinite Wisdom of Harriet Rose is on sale in many countries worldwide and is translated into different languages. What is your favourite country/language?
I’ve always lived in England, both in the country and in Central London. The English countryside at its best is magnificent and London as a city is hard to beat. From childhood, I have travelled regularly to the south of France, which I love. My husband and I always choose the mountains of Mallorca when we want a relaxing break. Spanish is my favourite language after English (I speak Spanish, French and German). Not long ago I stayed in Madrid for the launch of the Spanish translation of ‘The Infinite Wisdom of Harriet Rose’ (‘El Mundo de Harriet’). I fell in love with it and can’t wait to go back.
Which author do you admire most?
My favourite novelist is Charles Dickens. He manages to combine serious moral and social statements with an inspirational sense of humour, a combination which I always aim to achieve. Whilst his books are humorous, he is taken seriously as a writer without being pigeonholed.