Property Secrets: Novelist Angela Clarke reveals all about her property past, present and future
PUBLISHED: 13:03 06 October 2016 | UPDATED: 13:26 06 October 2016
The murder mystery author is Hertfordshire born and bred
Q Where are you from originally?
A I was born in Watford, but my family moved to Redbourn when I was five years old.
Q When did you buy your first property?
A I bought my first property with my (now) husband in my late twenties. It was a two bed new build flat in a Docklands development, in Limehouse, in E14 in London.
Q What did you like/dislike about it?
A It was on the canal, so it was wonderful to watch the boats go by. And we were very lucky to have so much space in central London, but like most new builds it lacked character. It was a bit like living in a cream painted shoe box. We lived there for four years.
Q Why did you decide to move?
A When I got sick, with what was later diagnosed as rare degenerative connective tissue disorder Ehlers Danlos III, moving around fast and aggressive London became increasingly difficult. So we sold up and moved back out to St Albans.
Q Which other areas have you lived in?
A I lived in Wivenhoe, in Essex, while at university, and after a brief stint back with my parents, moved to London from there.
Q Where do you live now?
A I live in St Albans, with my husband and about 600 books. It’s another new build, though it has been done in a sympathetic style. I’ve lived here for the last six years.
Q How would you describe your home in three words?
A Could be tidier.
Q What do you like and dislike about the area?
A I love going for walks with my partner round the Cathedral and Verulamium Park, with a hot chocolate of an evening. I’m less keen on those who mow their lawns or start drilling things before 9 o’clock in the morning. Well, before 10 o’clock, if I’m being totally honest.
Q What’s your favourite local shop and why?
A As an author, I love Waterstones on St Peter’s Street. Not only do they have a wonderful selection of books, but the staff are passionate and supportive of writers and readers in the local area: they host the most amazing events.
Q Have you changed much about your house since you’ve lived there?
A We bought off-plan, so I designed everything inside the house (except the sanitaryware, which was pre-selected). I spent a decade working in the fashion industry, before becoming a full time writer, and I’m a very visual person. Which is a pretentious way of saying: I like things to look a certain way. My style is quite bright, eclectic, and edging more towards maximalism than I’m totally comfortable with (I buy too much stuff).
Q Is there anything you’d still like to change about your property?
A Yes, I’d like it to be a period property: so we will move eventually!
Q Where do you shop for interiors items?
A I always buy our beds from Warren Evans, because they are a wonderful, efficient, and environmentally conscious company. The rest of my interiors are a mix of high end designer pieces, and second hand items I’ve pimped. My best buy is a one metre high, figurative sculpture made of recycled vandalised bus shelter glass by the artist Stephen Yeates. She’s so heavy it took two men an hour to get her into the house, and she sits on a unit which has a reinforced steel bar running through the middle of it. I love buying art, and recently carried a painting back on five separate trains, during a fourteen hour journey home from the South of France. Not the ideal moment for a train strike.
Q What’s the best thing about your home? And the worst?
A The best thing about my home is it has my husband in it. The worst thing is he sometimes goes out.
Q If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
ACornwall. Between Sennen and St Just, near the rocky, stormy ocean.
Q Do you have a ‘dream road’ locally?
AI’m more house driven, I love older period properties, with wooden floors, working fireplaces and soul.
Q Do you see yourself moving on in the near future?
Q Where would you like to live next?
A At the moment we need to be within commuting distance of London for my partner’s work. If that changes, who knows.
Q What would your dream home be like?
A Period, with wonderful light. I love big windows, so Georgian is always a good bet. My mobility is often compromised, so less stairs would be ideal (we currently live in a three floor house). And as I work through the night, and sleep when others are up and about, I’d love a detached home: so I wouldn’t be woken by the neighbours.
Follow Me by Angela Clarke is out now. Watch Me, the second in the Social Media Murder Series is out January 2017. You can find out more about Angela at www.AngelaClarke.co.uk