The children, of course!
Which book has inspired you the most?
Such a difficult question to ask someone like me who is book obsessed! The most recent book that inspired me was The Safest Lie by Angela Cerrito. Unlike many books for children set in the Holocaust it highlights the kindness and good work of the many people who risked their lives to save children in Nazi Germany. It filled me with joy and a hopefulness for the world.
What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?
I am embarrassed to say I check Facebook on my smartphone – I want to know what my family’s been up to on the other side of the world in the Philippines, and early morning in London is just the afternoon in Manila, so I get a chance to catch my sisters and have a chat.
What is your life’s motto?
When I was a new mother, I used to say Let’s Do it All, We’re Already Tired Anyway! But that was before the Internet became so all pervasive that it was hard to tell when procrastination began and ended. These days, I just tell myself: DON’T INTERRUPT. That way, I finish the tasks I set myself.
Our theme for the 2017 Festival is Journeys. Can you tell us which journeys in your life have been most memorable?
Recently, I travelled to Bontoc, a town high up in the Cordillera Mountains in the Philippines. It is the setting of a forthcoming book and I had not visited the town for 30 years. It was gorgeous, surprising and rich with story. The other journey I made, also to research another book, was to a small island called Camiguin which has seven volcanoes and black volcanic beaches. We snorkled over giant clams and my family went diving amidst turtles and whales. It reminded me that under the blue sheet of the ocean, there is treasure we cannot see. So precious.