My Sussex life - best-selling author Karen Swan

Karen Swan (c) Alexander James

Karen Swan (c) Alexander James - Credit: Archant

Novelist Karen Swan lives on the edge of Ashdown Forest. She is a Sunday Times best-selling author who has sold over a million books.

Home is…

In a small hidden valley on the boundary of the Ashdown Forest, near Horsted Keynes. We can only be accessed by tiny winding lanes and numerous fords, adding to our sense of seclusion.

Your earliest memory of Sussex?

Attending Glyndebourne for my 21st birthday; I’ve gone almost every year since.

Where do you go to unwind?

My garden. No road noise, just a big sky and a riot of nature in the field and lake abutting our lawns.

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Favourite Sussex walk?

Along the ridges of the Gills Lap area of Ashdown Forest. It’s real Pooh Bear country. I love the grassy paths through the pine trees and the views stretch for miles.

Favourite place to spend time with the family?

At home. We are lucky to have a very large garden and when it’s hot, we enjoy filling a wheelbarrow with rugs, drinks, food and a board game and we’ll wheel out to some far-flung corner we don’t usually visit and have a picnic. The dogs think it is like going on holiday.

Where is your favourite place to shop?

Nielsen and Stil boutiques in Forest Row have such great collections, I can almost forget I’m not in London.

Best Sussex night out?

The best nights are always to be had around a friend’s table, but the biennial Ashdown Forest Ball is brilliant. Last time we went it had been raining so hard in the run-up we had to dance in black tie and wellies.

Best place to eat or drink in Sussex?

We’re spoilt with excellent pubs around us – The Red Lion and Coach & Horses (both Danehill) for Sunday lunch; The Griffin and Rose & Crown in Fletching for everything else.

If you could move to anywhere in Sussex where would it be?

We moved to our dream home, where we are now, two years ago and we want never to move again.

But if we were to try village life, rather than isolating in the sticks, we’d move to Lindfield.

Can you describe your Sussex life in three words?

Happy, relaxed, full.