The 5-minute Interview: Joanne Harris, author

'I used to be an accountant. It was hell. It didn't last very long'


Harris, 44, is the best-selling author of 'Chocolat'. Her latest novel, 'The Lollipop Shoes', will be available in paperback from 21 April

If I weren't talking to you right now I'd be...

The boring answer is probably doing some work. No, actually I would probably be boiling potatoes for my 14-year-old daughter. She's a carbohydrate junkie.

A phrase I use far too often...

"That totally kicks ass." Again, my daughter's fault. If I am in a particularly ironic mood, that phrase ends with "dude".

I wish people would take more notice of...

What they drop on the floor. When I go for walks I carry a plastic bag so I can pick up litter.

The most surprising thing that happened to me was...

Surprising things happen to me every day. Recently, I would say being invited to Windsor Castle for the state visit of the French President. I was in a permanent state of surprise – and I was the only person not wearing a tiara.

A common misperception of me is...

There are so many but the most common is about chocolate. People give it to me all the time, but I never eat it. I am not at all a chocoholic. I would rather eat anchovy toast.

I am not a politician but...

I am not sure there is a "but", but I am a radical something. Possibly, a radically loose cannon.

I'm good at...

Procrastinating. I have an advanced degree in procrastination and another one in paranoia.

I'm very bad at...

Maths. Anything to do with numbers at all. Anniversaries, birthdays, I always forget them. The funny thing is I used to be an accountant. It was hell. It didn't last long.

The ideal night out is...

A night in with my husband and daughter. We make popcorn and watch movies. We go through phases – right now its Korean horror films.

In moments of weakness I...

Hide under the duvet and probably eat – sometimes at the same time.

You know me as a writer but in another life, I'd have been...

A beachcomber. I'd collect rubbish from the water's edge, make it into art and sell it to the Tate Modern.

The best age to be is...

This age – whatever "this" is now. Anything else is too sad to contemplate.

In a nutshell, my philosophy is this...

If you want something you can have it but you have to do some work. It's the ethic my mother brought me up with.

Michelle MacNeill

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Guru Careers: Graduate Resourcer / Recruitment Account Executive

£18k + Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking a bright, enthusiastic and internet...

Reach Volunteering: Chair and trustees sought for YMCA Bolton

VOLUNTARY ONLY - EXPENSES REIMBURSED: Reach Volunteering: Bolton YMCA is now a...

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£150 - £180 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher Geography teach...

Day In a Page

Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
12 best olive oils

Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back