Valerie Blumenthal is the author of 11 critically acclaimed novels  (Harper  Collins,  then Sceptre/Hodder  &  Stoughton).  Her books have been widely translated,  and Saturday’s Child sold over a million copies worldwide. Valerie has also written short stories and articles and, for many years,  taught creative writing. Valerie’s latest novel, The Lupo Stick, has taken her seven years to complete, after she was diagnosed with  Posterior  Cortical  Atrophy,  an unusual form of early-onset Alzheimer’s, which affects vision.

WHAT IS YOUR NAME?

Valerie Blumenthal

HOW OLD ARE YOU?

How long is a piece of string?

WHERE DO YOU LIVE?

Idyllic thatched cottage in Oxfordshire.

WHAT DO YOU DO?

Novelist and features writer

TELL US WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE YOUR AGE?

Erratic rather than erotic

WHAT DO YOU HAVE NOW THAT YOU DIDN’T HAVE AT 25?

PCA Alzheimer’s. For the uninitiated, PCA is short for posterior cortical atrophy which is a supposedly rare form of Alzheimer’s, affecting all things visual, including literary skills (as I’m a writer this is inconvenient to say the least) motor skills, special awareness, perception and a host of other things. It is the same form of Alzheimer’s that afflicted Sir Terry Pratchett. I do not believe it to be rare; I believe it to be misdiagnosed.

WHAT ABOUT SEX?

Let’s have some fun here… Still happening but oo and arrgh are usually an expressions of pain!

AND RELATIONSHIPS?

As years go by, all are definitely enhanced.

HOW FREE DO YOU FEEL?

My mind soars with creativity but actuality curtails me. Once, freedom meant my beautiful horse, Fleetwood, but he is long gone.

WHAT ARE YOU PROUD OF?

I am proud of all my loved ones. I am proud of my own perseverance against the odds.

WHAT KEEPS YOU INSPIRED?

Life, love and nature

WHERE DOES YOUR CREATIVITY GO?

Art and music

WHEN ARE YOU HAPPIEST?

When I am with my family and when I am creating.

WHAT’S YOUR PHILOSOPHY OF LIVING?

Making time for people and trying to find something good in the smallest things and incidents.

AND DYING?

As a child I used to cry at night thinking that I would cease. I have not changed!

ARE YOU STILL DREAMING?

Of what! I wish I was.

WHAT WAS A RECENT OUTRAGEOUS ACTION OF YOURS?

It wasn’t that recent, but last year, in a nature reserve, someone had attached a rope to a tree across the brook as a makeshift swing. The temptation was very great; nobody was about, so I succumbed to my urge and swung like Tarzan across the gap. Fortunately, somebody appeared. Just as well, because the thing wouldn’t stop swinging.