Q & As


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).

Favourite country

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.


Harriet Rose, the eponymous heroine of The Infinite Wisdom of Harriet Rose, is fascinated by Philosophy. As a teenager were you interested in Philosophy?

Certainly, yes. While I was at school I studied Latin as one of my ‘A’ levels and developed an interest in the philosophy of Cicero and others, which obviously grew during my time as an undergraduate and postgraduate in Philosophy at University College London. In fact, my first novel, The Choice, is also a philosophical novel. It explores the concepts of free will and determinism and moral responsibility, concepts which I studied in depth for my degrees. The story involves a twenty-first century barrister, Lily, who is asked to represent Eve, First Created Woman, at a trial. Eve continues to blame herself for her actions which she believes led to the downfall of mankind, but God believes Eve’s soul deserves another chance.

Harriet Rose

Although The Infinite Wisdom of Harriet Rose is a philosophical novel, it is humorous too. What was your motivation behind this unusual combination in your novel?

A knowledge of philosophy and a sense of humour form two strong aspects of my personality. It seems to me a common misconception that philosophy has to be presented in a serious, dry manner to be persuasive. On the contrary, I believe that humour is an extremely powerful vehicle for all manner of academic subjects, especially within the novel. The Infinite Wisdom of Harriet Rose appeals to readers of varying levels of understanding of philosophy – those who, like me, have an academic background in the subject, and others who have no previous knowledge of philosophy but who finish my book with an interest in it.

Most over-used phrase

Is there a phrase you use too often?

Isn’t it time for lunch yet?

Surprising thing

What was the most surprising thing that ever happened to you?

Being born. I couldn’t think where I was. I’m still getting over it.


When you were a child, what did you want to be?

That happy forever.


What would be the soundtrack to your life?

It ain’t what you do it’s the way that you do it.