Both Olivia and Walter undergo changes that they feel are bad, but end up being positive. Have you ever had a blessing in disguise? …
When I was at university (years ago now – before Twitter or Facebook existed!), I was on a four year course. My college allocated accommodation in college owned houses for fourth years and where you ended up was decided by ballot. I was given a place in a college house which was in North Oxford. It was lovely and cheap. The only problem was, I wouldn’t be living with any friends. Everyone else in the house was a lot cooler and smoother and more ‘Oxford’ than I was. Most of them went to public school – whereas I went to a small northern comprehensive. Even though they were all very nice people, I would Not Fit In.
This caused me quite a lot of anxiety at the time. I was already hamstrung by impostor syndrome at ‘work’, I didn’t need to face it at home as well! The final blow came in the form of an invitation to a birthday party which suggested ‘designer labels’ as a dress code (I didn’t own any). I panicked and started to look for somewhere else I could live. A friend mentioned a place affectionately called ‘the nunnery’ – a student community run by the Convent of the Sacred Heart (the house appears in Girl In Trouble as the venue for Tom’s wedding). You had to have an interview to get a chance to live there. It was a chance. I took it. I was lucky enough to get in.
In my first week living in the house, I met a skinny young research chemist who was starting his first year as a PhD student. We bonded over a very stupid joke that no one else got. We’ve been together ever since. So, yes. Being allocated a room in a house where I would not fit in was definitely a blessing in disguise.
Walter thinks hydrothermal vents are beautiful, but no one else does. What is your obscure love/ guilty pleasure, and why? …
I have a thing for carnivorous plants. Okay, I’m not terribly good at keeping them alive (they’re delicate little things), but for a while I had a small collection – several sundews, a butterwort and one tiny liverwort which lived in a terrarium on my windowsill and every so often produced the most incredible flowers. I also had several pitcher plants – two nepenthes and one sarracenia which lived outside in a pear tree. I used to carry a matchbox around into which I could put dead flies so that I could feed them to the sundews.
They are delicate and need rainwater to survive (not the hard water that came out of the tap) and after the kids were born, I kept forgetting to water them. In the end, when we moved house, I left them behind.
As for hydrothemal vents, I think they’re amazing… but not as beautiful as Walter thinks they are. Weirdo.
Since The Octonauts comes up a lot in the book – what is the TV program or book or game that you miss most from your childhood?
My older daughter was a big fan of The Octonauts, so I watched a lot of it. I still find the little figurines from time to time. There were some seriously odd things about the show – the matter of scale, for a start; and then the fact that those creatures would naturally be part of a food chain… On the other hand, they had some cool tech. The Octopod is very space age. The creatures that show up in the show are carefully researched and reflect marine life very well (when we moved to Hull and started visiting The Deep, we were surprised at how accurate the descriptions and pictures on the show were). We’ve had many interesting discussions about life via The Octonauts. Like the distinction between ‘A medical doctor like Peso, or a doctor who studies things, like Shellington’.
I had rather a lot about The Octonauts in the book – because Walter’s daughter (well, Walter, really) is a fan. I ended up editing quite a lot of it out because it didn’t have much to do with the story.
I hope you enjoyed my contribution to the blog splash. I’ll be sharing the other posts from people throughout the day. And… please buy my book.
Walter’s ex is moving his daughter to America and Walter feels like he’s losing his family. When his friend-with-benefits, Olivia, discovers she’s pregnant by her douchebag ex, Walter sees the perfect chance to be part of a family with a woman he loves. But how can Walter persuade the most independent woman he’s ever met to accept his help, let alone his heart?
Girl In Trouble is the third book in the award nominated Smart Girls series by Rhoda Baxter. If you like charming heroes, alpha heroines and sparkling dialogue, you’ll love this series. Ideal for fans of Sarah Morgan, Lindsey Kelk or Meg Cabot’s Boy books. Buy now and meet your new favourite heroine today.
It’s on special offer for 99p until the 10th of October (tomorrow!). If you buy this week you get two short books as a bonus!