To celebrate the release of her new book, The Italian Girl's Secret, we asked author Natalie Meg Evans to let us in on some interesting facts all about her that not many people know! Here's what she had to reveal...

1. I bought an ex race-horse from a dodgy horse dealer for my 40th birthday, my first horse. She was beautiful and wild, and stayed with me to the end.

2. After my husband walked out, I worked as a cleaner. I learned that The Dress Thief (my first novel) had been shortlisted for the Harry Bowling Prize as I mopped the floor of a holiday chalet.

3. I have had eight dogs in my life to date. My two current companions are rescue dogs Lark, a chocolate lab and Georgia, a Malinois. Walking them gives me space to plot out the twists in my novels.

4. I was born in Zimbabwe, then Southern Rhodesia, as my parents emigrated in the ’50s. We returned to Britain into one of the coldest winters on record, with only tee shirts and shorts. Many of my stories have blazing fires in the hearth. I wonder why!

5. As a child, I wanted to be an archaeologist but I was warned it was terribly badly paid. So I became a writer - irony alert!

6. In the early 1980s, I worked in a bakery in Wimbledon, southwest London. One day I served jam doughnuts to the Harlem Globetrotters. They were so polite and it was the first time I was ever called “ma’am”.

7. I have synaesthesia where senses cross boundaries in the brain, and I see words and sounds in colour. A side effect I that it gives me an archive-like memory, though I cannot remember what I had for lunch yesterday.

The Italian Girl's Secret by Natalie Meg Evans is available now from bookstores, Amazon and Audible.

MORE FROM BOOKS: Tova Leigh on why she wrote her hilarious new book, You Did What?

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