I have been writing stories almost all my life; for years it seemed like a secret vice, an extension of childhood day-dreaming, escapism to get one through tough times. People are often quite iffy about escapism, but it can be a life-saver, and the first requirement of any book, in my opinion, is to absorb the reader and take them to a different place. It’s what I look for in a book and what I try to provide for readers.

My first published novel (plenty of also-rans before that) was Dora’s Room, which I thought was probably a gothic suspense story, but which apparently falls into the ever-widening crime genre. It was picked up by WH Smith’s for their first Fresh Talent promotion. Improvising Carla was televised by Granada, as Carla, in 2006. My most recent full-length crime novel was The Murder Bird, which was published in 2006.

One Mistake (Barrington Stoke 2008) was written for the adult reader who is not yet confident enough to tackle an extended piece of prose. Writing something that was simple to read, but complex enough to hold the attention of an adult, was a challenge, but very rewarding.

Since then I have discovered the not-so-different joy of writing non fiction, for which I’ve gone back to my maiden name, Joanna Hodgkin.

Recently, though, I’ve begun to feel the need to lose myself in some escapist again. Something to do with the relentless gloom of world and UK news, perhaps?