In a (seemingly vain) effort to render gloomy and grey London a little more cheerful and summery today, here is a new Q&A with our best-selling author Janet MacLeod Trotter. Janet is the author of mesmerising historical family sagas THE TEA PLANTER’S DAUGHTER and THE PLANTER’S BRIDE, as well as contemporary mysteries such as the captivating THE VANISHING OF RUTH.

What’s your daily routine when you are writing?

Go for a walk to get fresh air and the brain ticking over before heading to the library to write – with a promise to myself to return home for a huge coffee after a couple of hours!

If you weren’t writing, what other job would you dream to have?

I’d re-create the tea-house in my novel, The Tea Planter’s Daughter, and bustle around in an Edwardian tea dress chatting to the customers about world events while musicians played in the background and my staff served up delicious scones and cakes – which I would have to sample, of course.

Favourite book as a child?

Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson – I was fascinated by the idea of being able to create an imaginary world just by drawing a few lines in purple.

Favourite food/snack while writing?

Regular flapjack with coffee at the Lit & Phil Library in Newcastle has seen me through several novels!

Most unglamorous part of being a writer?

There’s a glamorous part?!

Do you have any secret talents (other than writing)?

I used to be able to stand on my head in the middle of the room but I think my centre of gravity may have shifted.

What has been your most touching review or message from a fan so far?

It’s a toss up between one from a woman:

“The House is in a mess, the kids had to eat at McDonalds and I’m not getting any sleep – and its all your fault! I just can’t put your brilliant book down”

and one from a man:

“I meant to write ages ago to complain about The Hungry Hills. Hardened commuters are not supposed to cry on the 19.15 from Kings Cross. Most embarrassing.”

Favourite holiday destination? Are you a beach bunny or a city explorer?

I prefer to explore beaches and sit around cities watching the world go by! My ideal holiday involves walking, a bit of sight-seeing, good meals, a swim or two, a ceilidh dance, sun-downers and plenty reading time. Scotland, France or India tick a lot of boxes.

Summer tipple of choice?

Chardonnay or Belhaven beer (to be honest I can drink either all year round!)

Last but definitely not least, what is your favourite ice cream flavour?

Vanilla with tablet. If you’ve never discovered tablet (fudge but better) then get yourself to Scotland quickly!


A summery snap of Janet enjoying some scones!