Dorothy Koomson, Award-winning Novelist

Best-selling author of ‘My Best Friend’s Girl’, ‘The Ice Cream Girls’ and ‘The Brighton Mermaid’

Besides writing, reading is the best thing in the world! And it’s essential if you want to be a writer – you need to know what is and isn’t being published. Reading-wise, I love everything: drama, science fiction and literary fiction. . . I’m not so keen on horror, though – that just keeps me awake!

I always wanted to tell stories. I used to go to the library almost every day and then in high school, I started my first book. I would write a chapter of my story every night in my exercise book and pass it round my school friends the next day.

In my twenties, I completed a Masters degree in Journalism and landed a work placement at ‘The Independent on Sunday’. I later got a full-time job on ‘New Nation’, a black weekly newspaper. When I left there, I was a freelance sub-editor on various magazines and newspapers but carried on writing fiction every chance I got.

My first book was eventually published in 2003. Fourteen books later, I still put my heart and soul into each one I write. I have to confess, though, at some point during each book, I think: ‘I fancy writing the next book!’ But then I remember I need to crack on with the one in hand!

These days, I rarely do any journalism because being a novelist is my full-time job. In 2007, when I returned to England after living in Australia for two years, I was cautious about making the leap from journalist to full-time author. My third book, ‘My Best Friend’s Girl’, had been a Richard and Judy Summer Read in 2006 and had sold very well, but still, I wanted to be as financially secure as possible before I made that leap.

‘Tell Me Your Secret’, my fifteenth book, is out soon and I’m very excited! Even after all these years it’s still a big moment. One of the best aspects is getting to meet readers at events in bookshops and libraries. I also love interacting with them on social media.

My advice is: if you want to be a writer, stop thinking and talking about it – just sit down and write!

Dorothy Koomson