Tell us a bit about your background.I was born in Mexico City and came to live in Manchester, England via Germany when my parents split up and my air-stewardess mother met and married a British cellist who played for the Halle orchestra.
What inspired you to write The Joshua Files?The Joshua Files is partly an idea I've had since I was fifteen and first visited the Mayan ruins of Yucatan and heard the more outlandish theories about the Maya. The idea of a boy hero searching for a lost Mayan codex spun out of a thriller I was writing as my first attempt at a novel when I broke my leg.
What books did you like to read when you were younger?My favourite books as a child were adventure stories: E. Nesbit, Tintin and most of all the William books by Richmal Crompton. I adore William because in his head his whole life is an exotic adventure, even though he never leaves his little English village.
What are your favourite thrillers?I love the Bourne films. A guy being chased who doesn't even know who he is! It's perfect. And anything based on a Philip K. Dick story . . . Blade Runner, Total Recall, Minority Report, even Paycheck.
Is Josh or any of the other characters based on people you know?Four of the characters are based on people in my family, but not Josh. I'll tell you about just one . . . my cousin Oscar Raul, an engineering student at uni, is the inspiration for Benicio. At least one character is based on a figure from Latin American literature, also, but that's one way I'm leaving clues to what is going on . . . so I won't tell.
What made you choose capoeira as the sport Josh is into?I love the way capoeira looks and sounds, with all that singing and flying around. There actually is a local team who perform in Summertown during our annual street festival and I really enjoy watching them.
What’s your most cringe-worthy story?Cringe-worthy . . . there was this boy I really liked at primary school but I dumped him for his more sporty best friend. Then I spent my teenage years really wishing I hadn't. Sometimes we'd bump into each other at the bus stop after school and like an idiot I didn't let on that I still liked him. Many years later I found out that he'd felt the same way. My daughter would never let something like that pass her by, which I admire.
So far, The Joshua Files has had several plot twists, and it seems like there are more to come. Do you think of them before you write the story, or do they come to you as you’re writing?There are more to come . . . we've barely gotten started! I plot about 90% of every manuscript I write beforehand, so most of them are there from the beginning.
Describe your typical day.I wake around seven a.m., go straight to the computer, fool around on my blog and Facebook, maybe chat with my cousin in Mexico if he's up late, then write until around nine a.m., shower and write some more, then stroll into Summertown for lunch. Then I write some more, waste more time on the Web, pick up my youngest daughter from school and wait for the eldest one to wander home. After that I TRY to be a good wife and mummy, doing family things, baking cupcakes, etc. . .
What are your hobbies when you’re not writing?My main hobby is salsa dancing, Cuban style. And lately I've taken up mixology . . . mixing cocktails. I blame my brother . . . he got me into what is a fattening and unhealthy hobby!
How much of your life have you spent in Mexico? Do you like it more than England?I lived in Mexico until I was almost five and then spent most summers there as a child, with my sisters and father. I adore Mexico, but after about a month, I used to be desperate for anything British. I think it's easier to be an expat now; with the Internet, you can still have your newspapers and the BBC.
Dogs or cats?Cats.
Chocolate or sweets?Chocolate.
Pizza or burger?Pizza.
Favourite computer game?I don't allow myself computer games cos they are too addictive but the last one I let myself play was X-Wing Vs. Tie Fighter.
Favourite websites?FaceBook, YouTube and my friends’ blogs (e.g., fellow author Susie Day's and my teen daughter's secret anonymous blog, which is hilarious).
Text or call?Text.
Favourite lesson at school?Chemistry.
Worst lesson at school?Geography.
Favourite colour?Man United red.
Best character name in literature?Melquiades the gypsy in One Hundred Years of Solitude
City or country living?City living . . . but I do love the dark skies of the countryside.