Q&A with Adele Parks
What is your earliest memory?
When I was very, very young, even before I could talk, I remember a particular evening when (unusually) my father was in charge of bathing me and my sister. The bath time wasn’t going well (I can’t remember exactly why but having overseen a number of children’s bath times since, I can imagine that I simply didn’t want to go to bed).
As he lowered me into the water I remember being aware that he’d forgotten to take off my socks (clearly, he was out of his comfort zone and finding the whole experience quite stressful). I cried, screamed and struggled with frustration because I couldn’t tell him he’d forgotten to remove my socks. Obviously, the more I fussed, the more panicked my father became; he dumped me in the bath socks and all. I remember the feeling of the soggy socks and the sensation that things weren’t as they should be but I couldn’t influence anything. It was so frustrating. The whole incident probably only lasted minutes but I do remember it. My mum remembers this event too, of course she thought it was hilarious because mums do secretly rather like it when dads can’t quite manage. She tells me it all happened when I was about 16 months which scientifically is surprising.
What were your aspirations when you were a teenager?
I wanted to write and I wanted to travel. Most teenagers feel hemmed in and want to spread their wings.
What are you reading right now?
The White Queen by Philippa Gregory
What is your TV guilty pleasure?
The Mary Jane Adventures, which is the spin off from Dr Who and intended for kids. In my defence I don’t watch it alone I do watch it with my son; maybe that’s the pull.
What’s your biggest indulgence?
There is always a bottle of champagne in my fridge.
Describe your dream dinner party line-up.
President Obama, Ewan McGregor, Richard Curtis, Drew Barrymore, Angelina Jolie, Lone Scherfig and my husband.
What has been your greatest achievement?
Having the courage and conviction to write my first novel.
What would be your specialist subject on Mastermind?
I don’t think I’d be very good on Mastermind. I’m not great at holding on to facts, I hold on to feelings and thoughts.
Who’s your celebrity crush?
My latest is David Tennant, before him it was James McAvoy, before him it was Hugh Jackman… I tend to fall for a role they are playing rather than the man himself, which is probably a good thing when you think about how many I’ve listed. Daniel Craig is ongoing.
What’s your favourite thing about being a writer?
It’s all marvellous. I’m very grateful. Very lucky indeed and I’m only able to be a writer because of the army of people behind me; everyone from my husband, to my publisher, to my readers. Thank you.
What book could you read over and over again?
I don’t read books over and over again because there are so many brilliant books out there and I’ll never get through everything I want to read even at my rate of one or two a week.
What’s your favourite season?
Summer. But I like them all in their own way.
If you were a superhero, what would be your super power, and how would you use it?
I’ve agonised over this question. I’d like the power to be invisible or time travel (to eavesdrop and to satiate curiosity) or to fly or run at the speed of light (to get more done) but that all seems a bit selfish. To be a true superhero I think I’d have to plump for the power of healing. That would be really special.
How long does it take you to complete a book?
I can think about a book for many months (or even years) before I start writing it but once I start it is takes approximately a year, that includes research, editing and promoting.
What one thing do you do better than anyone else you know?
Nothing at all.
Who is your favourite fictional heroine?
I don’t have one. Heroes are people that save lives, or work selflessly for others, or who discover great things in medical science to improve our world or come to terms with devastating personal situations with their humanity in tact.
Who is your favourite fictional hero?
Do you have any bad habits?
Loads. I’m horribly impatient and I worry too much about things that haven’t happened or are out of my control. How pointless is that? I often interrupt, in fact I probably talk too much generally. Sorry for all of the above.
Do you ever get writer’s block?
Not so far. There are days when I’m a little less in the mood but I think it’s a bit indulgent to decide not to write on those days, I always work through any shadow of that feeling. No one ever talks about builder’s block or nursing block but I’m pretty certain that there are days when builders or nurses or any one from any profession doesn’t quite feel like going into work, but they have to get on with it.
If you had to be stuck on a desert island with a celebrity, who would it be?
It would probably be sensible to pick someone the world would miss and keep looking for until they found us, by that definition it would have to be Prince William or Fern Cotton. Although I’m tempted to say Daniel Craig and risk exposing myself as shallow.
What’s your life motto?
Be good, be kind, be happy
What motivates you to keep writing?
It’s intrinsic to me. I don’t know what I would do without it. I want to keep entertaining, challenging and amusing my readers.
What’s the best piece of advice anyone ever gave you?
Money comes and goes, time just goes, therefore time has to be the most precious thing we have. Don’t waste a single moment, if you can help it.
Which characters from your own novels would you most like to spend time with?
I’m going to sound slightly bonkers but I do feel as though I do this over the year that I live with them as I’m writing their book. Some of my favourite characters are the ghastly ones and so I probably wouldn’t want to spend real-time with them. In fact most of my characters are quite flawed in some way or other and might be hard work!