Rachel Johnson: bestselling author, magazine editor…and sister of Boris

Thanks to a mix of irreverent humour and wittiness, Rachel Johnson (44) has become one of Britain’s most popular writers. She has written columns for The Sunday Times and the Evening Standard, published three books -including bestselling Notting Hell- and recently been appointed editor of The Lady. She is the sister of London mayor Boris Johnson and lives in Notting Hill with her family.

My main character trait: Blondeness

The trait I most deplore in myself: I look for my own name in the newspapers, a deeply shaming condition that Virginia Woolf called “one of the first signs of madness.”

The trait I am most proud of in myself: The ability to forgive and enjoy the company of those who dislike me.

If I could change something in the way I look: I have a slightly swollen left leg thanks to a tennis injury, but I would love elegant ankles and calves and a noble forehead and to be three inches taller… I suppose if it was one thing? The forehead, because then I wouldn’t have such unruly problem hair.

The quality I appreciate most in a man: The ability to make me laugh.

The quality I appreciate most in a woman: The ability to make me laugh.

Faults in others or myself that I am most likely to forgive: Disloyalty.

What I most value in my friends: The fact that they stand by me, whatever.

My favourite occupation: Reading.

My idea of happiness: Reading while my children are also reading in my house on Exmoor. This remains a distant dream as children don’t read anymore.

My most beautiful memory: Opening stockings in bed on Christmas mornings with my children and husband.

What would be the worst thing that could happen to me (apart from losing loved ones): Being unable to walk and smell.

My dream as a kid: To be a wife and mother. When I told my father, he looked horrified, so I upgraded my ambition to being a photojournalist.

Which animal I would be: A collie labrador cross.

My favourite books: I Capture the Castle, Cold Comfort Farm, anything by PG Wodehouse, Evelyn Waugh, Beatrix Potter (they made my children laugh and laugh).

My favourite films: Lost in Translation, Brief Encounter, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Withnail and I, Stepbrothers, Dodgeball.

My favourite song: American Pie.

Who or what I love most in the world: My family.

My favourite heroes in fiction: Bianca Castafiore (from comic book Tintin), Violet Elizabeth Bott (from book series Just William), Flora Poste (from novel Cold Comfort Farm).

People I most admire in real life: My mother and my father.

My favourite first names: Anything biblical like Job and Jedadiah.

My most treasured possession: My photo albums (one for each child).

My favourite place: Exmoor.

What I hate most: Litter.

My biggest success so far: My children.

My definition of love: Never being bored.

My definition of beauty: The lit from within quality… Princess Diana had it.

How I would like to die: After a long life in which I remained fit and compos mentis until the end.

How I would like to be remembered: As a novelist.

My current state of mind: Grateful for all that I have been given.

My motto: Keep going.