Writer Kate Gray has made her home in Helmsley where she writes and enjoys the rural life with her young family

How I spend my days:

As a full-time novelist, I spend my days trying to get imaginary characters to behave! No two days are the same. Depending on where I am in the writing process I may be lost in a creative first draft, writing as fast as I can, or I could be editing or promoting a novel. I’m often on long plot walks around Helmsley, where I live, making notes on my phone or procrastinating on social media before the school run!

Friday Nights - cocktails or chill?

I try not to drink when I’m writing, especially if I’m on a deadline as I’m just too sluggish the next day. So sadly, cocktails will have to wait until I celebrate handing my next draft to my editor. I do have a real sweet tooth and love nothing more than curling up on the sofa, watching a box-set and enjoying a freshly made cake. The vanilla slices from a small cafe in nearby Ampleforth are to die for.

Saturday morning – Parkrun or papers?

Neither! Saturday mornings are pretty chaotic as I have a four and a six-year-old who don’t respect the weekend lie-in rules. My husband is a journalist and works every Saturday so I have swimming lessons, trips to the library and visits to the park or a National Trust property with the children to fill my time. We recently discovered Nunnington Hall which has a brilliant play area for them to let off steam.

Feeding time?

My favourite place near home is the Feathertrail, an independent cafe run by a lovely dynamic young couple who make the most incredible coffee and cake. Their chocolate pancakes are next level. I also love a trip to Bettys in Harrogate for their afternoon tea if I’m feeling fancy. We’re spoilt for country pubs, living in the North York Moors, so it’s very tempting to stop for a drink and let someone else feed the children after a busy day. The Forresters Arms in Kilburn is a particular gem.

Retail therapy?

I don’t need an excuse to pop into any charity shops as I love a good rummage. Thirsk has a really good selection of second-hand stores. I also struggle to walk past a bookshop without going in. My favourite has to be The Pickering Booktree with its great selection of books, friendly owners and cheerful yellow walls which instantly brightens anyone's day before they’ve even chosen their next read.

Saturday night perfection?

Writing can be quite solitary. I spend so much time in my head with my job, so any excuse to spend time with family or friends and catch up over dinner or a bottle of wine is ideal. If we’re lucky enough to get a babysitter then my husband and I will stroll into Helmsley and grab a drink at the microbrewery or a bite to eat at The Bantam. Their mouthwatering cheese gougères are a reason to visit alone.

Sunday relaxation?

We love to get outside and blow off the cobwebs. The children have just learnt to ride their bikes so you’ll find us exploring a trail in Dalby Forest or Castle Howard before returning home and watching a film, probably cuddling the cats, Atlas & Lily. I enjoy cooking so I will happily make dinner with a true crime podcast on in the background. Then it’s reading a proof before bed.

Plans for the year ahead?

Life has been very busy promoting my debut thriller, The Honeymoon, so I’m looking forward to a lovely family holiday in Norway. Then it’s back to the laptop to finish editing my second thriller, which will be out next summer. I can’t give much away at this point apart from the fact that it takes place over one fateful night and not everyone will survive!

The Honeymoon by Kate Gray (Welbeck) is out now in hardback, ebook and audiobook. There is also a paperback edition available at UK airports