INTERVIEW BY LOU MURRAY
PICTURES BY DOUG MOODY
A bestselling author who grew up in Eaglescliffe, Adele Parks has 18 published books to her name, with sales of more than 3.5 million. She describes her style as racy rom-com. Her latest book, I Invited Her In, is now available in paperback, ebooks and audio. With a 19th book written and ready to go, she’s still got plenty to write about, with no intention of stopping just yet.
The restaurants I love to eat in are…well, we visited Bistrot Pierre in Middlesbrough for my mum’s birthday and had a really lovely meal with a right good giggle. I would say another one of my favourites is The Hide in Yarm.
The meal I order most of all is… anything on the veggie menu as I’m vegetarian. A lot of restaurants do cater now for vegetarians so there is a lot more choice these days.
My favourite tipple is…a margarita or a few glasses of Champagne!
The stores I love to shop in are…I love rummaging in TK Maxx for a designer bargain. Also nipping into Strickland & Holt in Yarm to have a mooch at the cards and the unusual trinkets they sell. Then, of course, there’s House of Fraser in Middlesbrough.
The things I spend too much money on are…family experiences, such as day trips out to Flamingo Land and buying those expensive packs of photos they try to sell to you, even when you could have taken your own pictures on your own phone!
For a day out, I…enjoy visiting Preston Park. I loved it there even as a kid, particularly the cobbled Victorian street. I studied A-level art and I would quite happily sit there and sketch.
One place on Teesside I’d like to visit is…to go on the Teesside Princess along the River Tees to Yarm. One of my friends recently went on it and said how enjoyable it was.
In my downtime, I like nothing better than…going for nice long walks because I spend a lot of time at my desk. I mainly go for a break and to clear my head or even a shorter walk along Yarm High Street, stopping for a bite to eat with friends.
My perfect night out involves…a trip to the theatre. A family favourite is a visit to the Middlesbrough Little Theatre, particularly for the panto at Christmastime.
My perfect night in involves…a Marks & Spencer dine-in-for-£10 meal deal, whilst binge-watching the series Jack Ryan, starring John Krasinski, on Netflix.
A book I love is…The Hate U Give, a novel by Angie Thomas geared towards young adults, which is set in America. It deals with a number of racial issues and is very honest. I read it recently. It’s not a book I would have normally chosen to read, but I reviewed it for the British Book Awards, and it’s very well written.
A film I love is…Moulin Rouge or anything else by the director Baz Luhrmann, very much films of escapism. I’ve been known to belt out some of the songs, but I’m not a great singer!
A TV programme I love is…the American drama series This Is Us. It’s something that families can relate to with all their dramas, featuring humanity and lots of good intentions.
A song I love is…Where Do I Begin or If You Go Away. Ever since I was a little girl I’ve loved Shirley Bassey. I was fascinated by her life when I was five years old and asked my parents if she was rich. I used to save up my 10p pocket money in the hope of being just like her one day.
A holiday destination I love is…we have a place in France and I love holidaying there. The roads seem much calmer, there’s so much space and, of course, I love the champagne and cheese! California is another family favourite and somewhere we try and visit every few years or so.
People in Life
The people I most like to spend time with are…my family, husband and son.
The biggest influence on my career was…a number of my teachers, who helped build up my confidence and pushed me creatively, mainly Ms Maguire & Mr Oliver who were my English teachers, and my geography teacher, Mr Beddow.
The person who makes me laugh is…my best friend from university, Sandy. We both started on the same day and have been friends ever since.
The person who inspires me is…Winston Churchill. I use some of his great quotes in day-to-day life. They are relatable and can be funny in certain circumstances.
The people who make me angry are…well, I’m a reasonable person, not an angry person, but I would say liars, the people who make those false promises.
The person no longer with us who I’d like to spend another hour with is…my grandad, he was the kindest, most easy going and funny man, and a popular person. He was non-judgemental and I would love to spend some time talking with him as an adult.
My greatest achievement has been…balancing my working life with bringing up my son. I’ve written a book every year for the past 19 years.
My biggest disappointment has been…I don’t dwell on disappointments. I do feel I’ve had so many lucky breaks. I’m an optimist and see them as ‘Oh, well’ moments.
My greatest regret was…I don’t do regrets either. For me, it’s learning to take the right opportunities. It’s your own responsibility – remain positive and just move on if it doesn’t work out.
My business mantra is…the harder you work, the luckier you get!
The alternative career I might have had was…an interior designer. I’ve always been creative. I can take on something ordinary and turn it into a relaxing place. I transformed our home in France.
My remaining ambitions are…well, I’ve never had a number one bestseller! The highest position has been a number two. I would love to have one of my books turned into a TV programme or a film. Also to crack America and feature on the New York Times bestseller list. I’ve not finished yet, I’m just getting started!
The advice I would pass onto my teenage son and the younger generation is…anything is possible, but you need to work to make it happen. If you work hard enough, dreams can come true.