My Home: Anne Perry, novelist

Anne Perry has turned a derelict piggery into a luxurious home decorated in warm Tuscan shades
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The Independent Online

The novelist Anne Perry lives alone with two cats near the village of Portmahomack near Inverness, Scotland.

Before I moved here, I was a struggling author living in Suffolk. I was surviving on the measly £4,500 a year I earned from writing. My literary success coincided with my move to Scotland.

It was at that moment that everything started to take shape for me. Now, my books are published in more than 15 languages. I am currently my 50th novel and am on the New York Times bestseller list.

I had never been to this part of Scotland before. Initially, I just came to visit a friend. But I fell in love with the place immediately, and made my friend swear to find me somewhere to live here.

Within a year I had made an offer on what was a former piggery and farm outbuildings. I had never even seen the place, but I was so sure that I wanted to live here I took total faith in my friend's judgement. That was 17years ago now, and I've never looked back.

My home is very secluded, but that is part of it's charm. It's an amazing part of the world, very quiet and solitary, yet awe-inspiringly beautiful.

I can see the sea from both sides of my house: the Moray Firth on one side and the Dornoch Firth on the other. Although it may seem far away, I am only an hour from Inverness airport and the village of Portmahomack is a mile away.

It has a beautiful sandy beach more than a mile long, and it is one of Scotland's loveliest areas. I never get lonely, anyway, because my brother lives nearby and he works as my researcher. I also employ a housekeeper, a gardener and a secretary, who types up my work.

The house was a terrible mess when I moved in. There was nothing. No floors, ceilings, plumbing, electricity or even proper foundations. It took nearly six years for all the work to be completed.

Now, it is a really luxurious home. I have a pool and patio area (which was once the stomping ground for litters of piglets), and there's underfloor heating throughout and an indoor fountain in my conservatory. I'm just in the process of installing a new ensuite bathroom, which will have practically every luxury I could think of: Jacuzzi, jet-stream bath and a steam room.

I decorated mainly in an ornate Italian style. I love the warm colours of Tuscany: pinks, yellows, blues and greens. They make the house feel very cosy. I also adore Georgian colours. I have a strong, dark red in the dining room, vivid yellow in the drawing room and rich green in my lounge.

You enter my house through a gorgeous entrance hall with a travertine marble tiled floor. I have a star inset in one of the tiles, which a friend sent me over from Salt Lake City - it is my own little Hollywood Boulevard!

There are two small stairways on either side of the landing that lead up to my bedroom and office. This house is the perfect place to write. I spend more than 10 hours a day at my desk - I need to put in the hours, especially since I tend to write two or three books a year.

I have glass chandeliers throughout the house. Once you have seen the way a chandelier lights a room, you don't want anything else. From the hallway there is a long corridor that leads to my my lounge. It is a very opulent room, with varnished wooden floorboards covered in thick, warm Chinese rugs. All the sofas are cream and leather and Italian. Most of my books are in one of the glass cabinets at the end of the lounge.

I always bring something home from my travels. A couple of years ago I was lecturing on the QE2 and I bought a beautiful golden Ming replica horse. I've also been collecting frogs for a very long time.

I started when someone explained to me that frog was short for "Fully Reliant on God", which I liked the sound of. I also love perfume and miniature carriage clocks, which I have dotted around the house. And I have lots of paintings by the artist Patricia Barron, who is an old friend from Suffolk.

You either love or hate living in the deepest countryside. Fortunately I just love it. The only things that you miss about being in the country are the cultural things. I love opera and theatre and it's hard to get to see them regularly. But then again you can always get a DVD or a CD, and everything is available over the internet these days.

Sometimes I think I would like to live abroad, perhaps in Italy or Spain, but there is nowhere else in the world I would rather be than here. My publisher takes me on wonderful book tours to other countries anyway. The only other place that comes close to here is California: I lived there for five years in my twenties, but it never really felt like home. This place will always be my home. Apart from anything, it is the place where I found success.

'Dark Assassin' is published by Headline Books priced £18.99

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