Book in

Book in for some lit­er­ary heal­ing, as the Folke­stone Book Fes­ti­val gets un­der way with ev­ery­thing from hu­mour to history and drama to dis­cov­ery. Angela Cole met one of the head­lin­ers, Kent’s own San­dra Howard

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She’s a for­mer model of the 60s, who rubbed shoul­ders with the likes of Frank Si­na­tra and Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe, and is now Baroness of Hythe, mar­ried to for­mer Folke­stone and Hythe Con­ser­va­tive MP Sir Michael Howard. But de­spite hav­ing many a tale to tell from the world of celebrity – and she is, af­ter all, one her­self – San­dra Howard is em­bar­rassed by the at­ten­tion.

Quick to stress that the ti­tle of baroness is down to her hus­band, she says: “I am just San­dra Howard. I find it em­bar­rass­ing so I don’t re­ally use it.”

She is ex­tremely fond of Folke­stone and Hythe, and the cou­ple di­vide their time be­tween their homes in Lon­don and in Hythe. Which means ap­pear­ing at the Folke­stone Book Fes­ti­val is per­fect for the au­thor, where she will be dis­cussing her sixth novel, The Con­se­quence of Love.

“It is won­der­ful to be in Folke­stone,” she says. “It means so much to me.”

The Con­se­quence of Love looks at lost loves, de­ceits and se­cond chances.

“It is seven years since the other book and I al­ways wanted to know what hap­pened to the peo­ple in it,” she said. “It is me that de­cides, of course, but the char­ac­ters be­come real in your mind and they take you down paths that you didn’t nec­es­sar­ily think they would. It is one of the won­der­ful things about fic­tion. I re­ally was cu­ri­ous about what had hap­pened to the char­ac­ters – and one or two read­ers re­ally wanted to know. I’m now work­ing on the next one!”

Her fifth book, Tell the Girl, was fic­tion but drew heav­ily on her own ex­pe­ri­ences, and in­cluded a pic­ture of her on the cover.

“It was quite cathar­tic. I have been in cer­tain places at cer­tain times,” she says, “but I left out the juicy bits. I’d have found that em­bar­rass­ing.”

Her life back in the 60s in­cluded a heady mix of some world-fa­mous names. There was a din­ner party at Frank Si­na­tra’s house, where ev­ery­one ate in front of the TV – a new thing to do at the time – and San­dra found her­self next to an­other star­let, one Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe. She says of the pe­riod now: “I used to go and stay in Wash­ing­ton, but I was only 21. If I’d been a bit older I might have been bet­ter. I wish I’d been more aware of it all at the time.” But she is keen to stress she was not fa­mous her­self, back then as San­dra Paul. “In the 60s names didn’t come into it so much. Mod­els weren’t known for their names, ex­cept a few.” Mar­ried four times, and a mother three, San­dra now rel­ishes be­ing an au­thor, and en­joys the in­ter­ac­tion with peo­ple.

“I never have a prob­lem be­ing faced with a piece of pa­per or a lap­top. I work in bed with pen­cil and pa­per and I have to write things down at night as I rarely re­mem­ber them in the morn­ing.

“I love do­ing events like the Folke­stone Book Fes­ti­val, as there will be ques­tions from the au­di­ence. I also blog and I love Twit­ter, it has got a lovely un­known thing about it. With Facebook they are your friends and you know who they are, but with the Twit­ter world it is so much fur­ther than your per­sonal lit­tle cir­cle.” She will be in dis­cus­sion on Wednesday, November 22 at Folke­stone Quar­ter­house at 12.30pm. Some tick­ets,

£7, are still avail­able.

‘It is me that de­cides, of course, but the char­ac­ters be­come real in your mind and they take you down paths that you didn’t nec­es­sar­ily think they would take you down. It is one of the won­der­ful things about fic­tion. ’

Lady San­dra Howard is look­ing for­ward to con­trib­ute to the Folke­stone Book Fes­ti­val

Co­me­dian Francesca Marinez

Tracy Che­va­lier will be turn­ing on the lights in the Cre­ative Quar­ter

His­to­rian Henry Hem­ming

Poet Inua El­lams

Peter Snow and his wife Ann Macmil­lan

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