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Author interview: Lesley Pearse

PUBLISHED: 12:27 25 July 2014 | UPDATED: 13:14 25 July 2014

Lesley Pearse. Photo by Charlotte Murphy

Lesley Pearse. Photo by Charlotte Murphy

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Bestselling author Lesley Pearse talks to GEMMA CLAPP about her new novel, advice for budding writers and her upcoming move to Babbacombe

Lesley Pearse is one of the UK’s best-loved novelists. She has fans across the globe and has sold an impressive 10 million books to date.

Not only that, but she is currently sitting in the number three spot in the book charts thanks to the release of her latest novel, Survivor, in paperback.

“I hope it’ll be number one by next week - that would be nice!” she exclaims.

Lesley is one of the top five bestselling female authors in the country - joining the likes of JK Rowling - so it would be no surprise if she was.

We caught up with her for a quick chat where she let us into a few secrets...

What made you want to be a writer?

“I was always good at it at school. I was also a bit of a porky pie teller, making up stories, so knew I was a good storyteller.

“I didn’t get into writing professionally until late though. I wrote a letter to a magazine when I was 32 and I made £20 as it was chosen as the star letter. I thought, I can make money doing this!

“After a while I stopped getting paid for my letters and went on a short story writing course. Then I turned to novel writing.

“It was a long process though. I was 48 when my first novel came out. It took six and a half years to be published so there were a lot of rejections.”

Your latest novel, Survivor, has just been released in paperback - can you tell us a little about it?

“It’s the third book in the Belle series. Unlike Belle, Mariette has grown up in New Zealand - in paradise. She’s rebellious, so her parents send her to stay with a friend in England before she disgraces herself and the family. However, little do they know, Europe is on the brink of World War Two.”

What are you working on next?

“My next novel is set on Coronation Day when a woman gets murdered and her child goes missing. I’m only ten chapters in at the moment so we’ll see where it goes.”

You have a holiday home in Torquay - what do you like about the town and how often do you visit?

“I’m actually moving to Babbacombe permanently! To a place by the sea - the view is to die for! My friends think I’m mad to move all that way, but they haven’t seen the house and the view.

“I’ve always loved Torquay and used to take the children on holiday there when they were young. We’d often stay in Brixham and get the boat over to Torquay.

“It always struck me as a fun place. Originally I hoped to buy a mobile home there but I didn’t like any I saw. One day my daughter suggested I buy a flat instead as a holiday home, so I did!

“I love having a project to work on - interior decorating is my thing, other than writing of course. And I love being by the sea whatever the weather.”

Do you have any plans to set a novel there?

“I think it’s going to be in my next book. I always like to bring in where I’m living to my books. It makes the stories more real to be based on somewhere I know.”

Do you have any tips for Devon Life readers who are aspiring writers?

“Be persistant. Don’t give up after the first rejection - few people get published by the first company they send their book to.

“If you want it enough you’ll get it eventually.”

Survivor is published by Penguin and costs £7.99 in paperback. It’s out now.

To read our review on Survivor, click here.

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