Bestselling author KATE MOSSE reflects on the freedom she enjoyed growing up on the Sussex coast and why it was a ‘no-brainer’ to return there to raise her own family. Interview: Alex Reece

I always write about girls who are on the point of becoming adults. Sandrine in Citadel is 17 when the novel starts. Alaïs in Labyrinth is 17, too. I like that moment, that tipping point.

Growing up in Fishbourne, just outside Chichester, gave me this incredible freedom as a teenager that many people, if they grow up in cities, never have. I’d walk across the main road down to the marshes, over the three bridges, and then suddenly I’d be out on the estuary where all you’d hear was the cry of the gulls and the curlews. I could go and sit and look out over the water and there’d not be another soul about. And that is something that has never left me – that sense of finding peace in a landscape.

In Chichester we have incredible beaches, incredible sailing and incredible hills. All the things you might want for wellbeing, that link with the landscape, the seascape and the skyscape, are here. So it was a no-brainer when we had children to want to come back and raise them where we’d been raised.

We visit Carcassonne in France maybe six or seven times a year. When I return to Chichester, the first place I take the dog for a walk is up to The Trundle in Goodwood. You can see 360 degrees from there. It’s an Iron-Age fort, so people have stood there and looked out on this view for many years – and when I’m long dead and buried, people will still stand there. I find that a wonderful thing, a sense of being part of the continuity of Sussex, I suppose. 

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'In Chichester we have incredible beaches, incredible sailing and incredible hills'