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At home with bestselling author Adele Parks

Adele Parks in her London home. Picture: Debra Hurford Brown

Adele Parks in her London home. Picture: Debra Hurford Brown

Bestselling author Adele Parks is happy to furnish her home mainly from the high street, with a few special design pieces thrown in

Bestselling author Adele Parks may have sold more than 1.5 million copies of her novels in the UK, with her books being translated into 21 languages, but she still has her feet firmly on the ground.

Adele wrote her first novel while she was still working as an account director at an advertising firm. “I had a great job and I used to write every morning before I went to work. The thing that made me decide to write seriously was there had been several deaths in my family and amongst those close to me in a short period of time, and I suddenly felt I should really live the life I wanted to live. Not living every day as if it was your last, but making the most of it as much as you can was what prompted me to follow my dream. I had always dreamed of becoming a writer, but I didn’t quite know if I could do it,” says the 43-year-old.

Brought up on Teeside, Adele studied English and literature at Leicester University, before teaching English in Italy and working in London and Botswana for advertising firms. Family life prompted a move from London to Adele’s current home, in Guildford, Surrey. The property is a modern six-bedroom, three-bathroom, end-of-terrace house, which she shares with husband Jim and 11-year-old son Conrad. With a large garden and plenty of light, it was just what they were looking for.

“Most of our furniture came from the high street. You can get such great things from Ikea, Heal’s, Dwell and even Homebase. I like to change things around every now and again, so I don’t want to be stuck with something for ages because it was really expensive,” she says.

Growing up, she says her family were all interested in interiors. “We were all decorating enthusiasts. We used to joke with my mum and ask, ‘Have you changed the colour of that wall since this morning?’”

After Adele drops her son off at school, she writes from 9.30am until 1pm. “I write about 1,000 words per day. I don’t believe these people who say they have to wait on the muse to come. Writing is a job like anything else. I am commercially contracted to write my books and my readers are waiting for them,” she explains.

“I have wanted to write for as long as I can remember. Even as a child I read voraciously and wrote my own stories, making them into little books with illustrations. By the time I was ten or 11, I wrote about things in an effort to understand how I felt or thought about them. When I was in sixth form I read a book every second day. People rarely believe me, but it’s true.”

Adele’s husband Jim has done all the DIY in the property. “He has done absolutely everything apart from the underfloor heating,” she explains.

When the family moved in, they painted the walls in muted shades of mocha and browns, going for cream carpets and brushing up the wood floors. “We bought the paint from Dulux and most of the sofas are from Sofa Workshop,” she says.

The sitting room is an airy, yet cosy space. Cream tube-style frames stand out against the mocha wall and a large, cylindrical white light, which came from the Conran Shop, rests against a leather sofa.

In the kitchen, sleek black units from Ikea are teamed with large-profile white floor tiles. A smeg dishwasher completes the funky look while in the conservatory a huge Audrey Hepburn print hangs above the pine dining table.

Adele has chosen a bold black-and-white wallpaper from Homebase for the hallway, which works beautifully with a mirrored console table and a Philippe Starck lamp.

In Conrad’s bedroom, Adele invested in furniture decorated with sealife from Purves and Purves. “I loved it because I wanted him to grow up with a sense of adventure, and the thought of how big and exciting the world is, and somehow the pictures of deep-sea fish do that.”

In her office, Adele opted for a light turquoise for the walls. This is also where she has one of her prized possessions, a She chair, which came from the Conran shop, and which she bought with her first book advance. “It’s important to feel calm and professional in the office. This colour is very relaxing,” she says.

It would seem her parents’ love of interiors has rubbed off, and Adele now has a home that perfectly suits her – until she feels like changing it.

• About Last Night by Adele Parks is published on 12 April by Headline, £7.99 click here to visit www.adeleparks.com

Where is your favourite holiday destination?

Hollywood.

What music do you like to listen to?

I like music with thoughtful lyrics so at the moment Scouting For Girls and Adele.

What was the last book you read that you loved?

Before I go to Sleep, by SJ Watson – a real page-turner.

What is your favourite film?

Moulin Rouge.

What is your favourite drink?

Champagne or tea.

What is your favourite perfume?

Jo Malone’s Lime and Basil cologne.

What is your favourite TV programme?

The Apprentice or Got to Dance.

 

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