Q&A with Louise Bagshawe
What is your earliest memory?
Standing up in my cot and calling for my mum. I remember the brushed cotton sheets with little bunny pictures on them.
What were your aspirations when you were a teenager?
First, I wanted to be a writer, and next, after reading Jeffrey Archer’s First Among Equals at sixteen, I wanted to become a politician and, one day, Prime Minister. Then, when I was at college, I changed my mind and wanted to be a record mogul. But I went back to my dreams of politics and writing and got my first book deal when I was twenty-two.
What keeps you awake at night?
My children! Otherwise, I don’t think anything is really worth that anxiety late at night.
Do you have any phobias?
Describe your perfect weekend.
Going to Burford in the Cotswolds, sitting by a fire and reading or going for walks.
Describe your perfect holiday.
At the moment a beach holiday would be lovely. Anywhere with palm trees, umbrellas and cocktails would be perfect--nothing too energetic.
If you could take only three essentials with you to a desert island what would they be?
A razor kit, a solar-powered iPod to take care of all my entertainment needs and a VERY big book--something like the collected works of Shakespeare, The Lord of the Rings or the Bible.
What is your TV guilty pleasure?
I love The Thick Of It, and I’m told by other politicians that it is accurate.
What song would be the soundtrack to your life?
Don’t Tread On Me by Metallica.
What are you currently listening to?
Renée Fleming’s album Dark Hope. She has brought together covers of songs by the most unexpected artists for an operatic soprano, including The Mars Volta and Jefferson Airplane, and it’s fantastic.
What’s your biggest indulgence?
Salt and vinegar crisps!
Describe your dream dinner party line-up.
Margaret Thatcher, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lars Ulrich, Boris Johnson and Tony Blair.
What’s your signature dish?
A marmite sandwich!
What’s your favourite time of year?
I love May--it’s warm, but not yet summer, and the flowers are in bloom.
What has been your greatest achievement?
Raising three happy children with my ex-husband, without a nanny, whilst maintaining two careers.
What would be your specialist subject on Mastermind?
I’d be too terrified to go anywhere near Mastermind!
What could you never leave the house without?
What’s your most prized possession?
It’s an old book of fairy stories, which my grandmother gave me. It was published in 1911 and is called The World’s Best Fairy Stories. It has all these wonderful tales and gorgeous illustrations inside. I’ve been buying up all the copies I can find. I’d go back into a burning building to save it.
Who’s your celebrity crush?
For years it was Arnold Schwarzenegger.
What’s your favourite thing about being a writer?
Flexibility. You can write in your pyjamas, on the train, you have no office hours and no commute--it’s great!
Who is your favourite fictional hero? And your favourite heroine?
Any easy one! Mr Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice. They have never been beaten. What’s so fascinating about Elizabeth Bennett is that she is so feisty for an eighteenth-century heroine. Every romantic heroine since has been modelled on her--and with good reason. And Mr Darcy is just every girl’s dream.
Which characters from your own novels would you most like to spend time with?
Michael Krebs from Career Girls, my first novel, and Will Hyde from Passion. I have a tendency to fall in love with my heroes. And Rowena Gordon also from Career Girls and Rose Fiorello from The Devil You Know--they are pretty feisty heroines!
What’s your best beauty tip?
For me, it’s exercising. Since I started running, five days a week, I’ve lost loads of weight and I can still eat what I want. But you have to stick at it, and in six months you won’t believe the difference.
Describe yourself in a tweet.
Opinionated, pushy, kind, generous and far too talkative.
What’s your motto for life?
Leap before you look!