One Minute With: Fern Britton, presenter and novelist


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The Independent Culture

Where are you now and what can you see?

I am sitting in my upstairs office at home looking down on the dustbins and my neighbours field with horses in it. I have a painting of my father hanging over my desk and my atomic clock with the exact time to my left. I look at it a lot when I'm writing. Sometimes time crawls...

What are you currently reading?

'The Tenant of Wildfell Hall' [by Anne Brontë]. I read anything really, except science fiction. I have just finished 'The Sense of an Ending' by Julian Barnes. I enjoyed the atmosphere of the novel and the main character's lack of awareness. We are all self-centred.

Choose a favourite author, and say why you admire her/him

I really enjoy Rosamunde Pilcher. Her writing and stories are simple and pleasing.

Describe the room where you usually write

My room is this upstairs office, It is about 12ft by 8ft and houses a big cupboard for my stationery and the boiler. My desk is an old-fashioned wooden desk with four drawers either side of a knee hole.

What distracts you from writing?

The newspaper, crossword, digestives, the cats, washing machine...

Which fictional character most resembles you?

I have no idea. I just bumble along.

What are your readers like when you meet them?

Meeting readers is very new to me and it's always a thrill when someone says they've read something of mine. A lot of people know a lot about me, and in that sense perhaps I am seen as a fictional character!

Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?

The Queen. History will judge her as an extraordinary woman. Thrown into the family business in her early twenties, she had to juggle husband and children and duty long before these things came in for debate. Her eldest son nibbling at her heels, waiting for the top job, her role as mother, wife, fashion plate and monarch under deep scrutiny. She is the stuff Hollywood heroines are made of.

Fern Britton's new novel, 'Hidden Treasures', is published by HarperCollins