Five minutes with Barbara Erskine

Barbara Erskine has been writing historical novels for over 25 years. It took ten years for her first novel – Lady of Hay – to progress from an idea to a bestseller that sold over three million copies. We sat down over a cup of tea for a quick chat…

Screen Shot 2014-07-11 at 14.16.28Who was the first person you spoke to this morning?

The dog!

What would your perfect day be?

Outside on a fine spring day with wild flowers and birds singing, alone with my dog and a note book.

What would surprise people about you?

I collect owls (not live ones).

What makes you smile?

Other people’s smiles – and chocolate ice cream.

What are you currently reading, watching and listening to?

Helen Dunmore’s The Lie; all the Dylan Thomas centenary programs.

What skill would you most like to have?

I would love to be able to play the piano.

Can you sum yourself up in three words?

I am a dreamer, a watcher and a listener.

What did you want to be when you were younger?

A writer!

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?

The heroines of all my books. I would love to see if they all got on together and if not, why not.

What are you most proud of?

My first novel, Lady of Hay – oh, and my two sons and my grandson!

What inspires you?

Places, atmospheres and other people’s energy.

What is your most treasured possession?

Family photos.

Who would you like to be stranded on a desert island with?

Bear Grylls – obviously.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Aim for the stars and you could hit the moon.

Barbara Erskine’s latest novel, The Darkest Hour is published in hardback by HarperCollins, priced £14.99 and is on sale from 3 July

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