Q&A with Jill MansellYou’re a big Twitterer. Describe yourself in a tweet.
Easily distracted novelist with a penchant for snacks and sparkly things. Loves gossip, lacking in gravitas.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be an artist. Art was my whole life. And now I don’t draw or paint at all--I’m too scared to try, because I know I’ll be disappointed with the result. Gosh, that sounds quite sad, doesn’t it? Don’t worry, becoming a writer instead more than makes up for it!
What puts a smile on your face?
When the writing’s going well and the characters are sparking off each other, flirting like mad and coming out with effortlessly witty dialogue.
Where do you like to write?
In bed, with my lovely view of the sports field behind our house--OK, and the people playing the sports.
How do you relax?
Shopping. Jumping on the kids’ trampoline. Going out for meals with friends.
What keeps you awake at night?
Nothing at all. I’m an excellent sleeper.
Do you have any bad habits?
I’m very nosy and love to ask people the kind of questions other people might not ask. But I can’t help it. I NEED TO KNOW!
What’s your biggest indulgence?
Holidays. For so many years I could never afford to go away. Now I’m making up for lost time.
What one item would you save from a burning house?
The ring-binders containing the book I’m currently working on. I write by hand, so that means almost 700 A4 pages in four binders. I hope you’ll let me take all of them, not just one!
What’s your dream dinner party line-up?
Cary Grant, Ricky Gervais, Joanna Lumley, James Corden, George Clooney, Chris Evans, Julie Walters and Emma Thompson.
What song would be the soundtrack to your life? Come What May
, sung by Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rouge
What book could you read over and over again?
I used to reread when I was young, but I can’t do it any more. I’d always far rather start a new one--so many books, so little time!
What’s your favourite season?
Winter. I just love Christmas.
What would be your specialist subject on Mastermind?
If you were a superhero, what would be your super power, and how would you use it?
I would like to be a 100 percent accurate lie-detector. I think it’s extraordinary that we’re here in the 21st century and we’ve invented so much, yet we still can’t tell whether or not people are telling the truth.
What are your three handbag essentials?
Lipsticks. I never go anywhere without at least six. A pen, for jotting down brilliant ideas. A good read.
Who’s your celebrity crush?
George Clooney. Sorry, I know it’s unoriginal. It used to be Ricky Gervais, which was possibly a little too original. Oh, I’ve just remembered Will Smith--can I have him too? Thanks so much.
What’s your top tip for life?
Smile at people you don’t know. Don’t be afraid to be friendly. Falling into conversation with strangers can be fun. And you never know, you might end up in my next book!