BESTSELLING author Imogen Clark has penned her fourth novel.

Impossible to Forget tells the take of 18-year-old Romany who is on the cusp of taking her first steps into adulthood when tragedy strikes, and she finds herself suddenly alone without her mother, Angie, the only parent she has ever known.

In her final letter, Angie has charged her four closest friends with guiding Romany through her last year of school. Each of the four guardians possesses an outlook on life that Angie wants to give her daughter as a legacy.

At first, the guardians were taken aback. ‘Now they looked anxious, mouths tightening and sidelong glances being cast as they played through the possible options in their heads. The solicitor could almost see their minds whirring as they thought up excuses as to why this might not be practicable for them.’

But the bizarre plan, which has been meticulously worked out by Angie, goes ahead.

As the guardians reflect on their relationship with Angie it becomes apparent that this unusual arrangement is as much about them as it is about Romany.

Their lives become entwined in ways they could never have anticipated.

The novel follows the Ilkley-based writer’s previous three books, all of which reached the number one spot in Kindle Store. Her books have also been at the top of the charts in Australia and Germany.

Growing up in Cheshire and Lincolnshire, Imogen’s family moved to Yorkshire when she was 16.

“I was more interested in reading as a child than writing although I did toy with the idea of becoming a journalist for a while when I was a teenager,” she says.

Instead she trained as a lawyer, studying law at the University of Manchester. The idea came to me in a music lesson at school when I was 14. I’ve always been quite determined, so once I’d settled on becoming a solicitor I just kept going until I got there.”

The former Ilkley Grammar School pupil wrote her first novel in 2010 for fun.

“I enjoyed doing it so much that I just kept writing. It was only when I was offered a publishing contract in 2017 that it became a career.”

Her first published book was Postcards From a Stranger. “It is about a mother who leaves her children - the idea came from a daydream about running away from my life as a stay-at-home mum.

“I didn’t leave, of course, but the thought started me wondering about what might make a mother go and that became the novel.”

She self-published the book to start with. “And then it was spotted by my editor at Amazon Publishing who offered me a book deal. It’s now sold more than 250,000 copies worldwide,” she said.

Fortunately, Imogen’s four children were all at school by the time her writing career took off, “so I was able to write during the day when they were out of the house. I’ve also had a lot of early mornings and did a fair bit of writing in the car whilst waiting to pick them up from various places. Now they have all left home, so I have more time on my hands to write.”

Imogen got the idea for Impossible to Forget from an overheard conversation. “It made me start to wonder about how you might choose guardians for your children.

“I thought about picking a different person for each aspect of the child’s life rather than just one, and that led me to creating the guardians in the book.

“None of my characters are based on people I know. I create them all from scratch, although some of them share characteristics with me.

“I do draw on my own life experiences sometimes, but it’s not really a conscious thing and I don’t always realise that I’ve done it. My mum often recognises bits and pieces from our lives and will point them out. I think all authors use their own lives as inspiration to a greater or lesser extent.

“The characters in the book are the same age as me so writing the sections set in the 1980s and 90s was great fun. I particularly enjoyed writing about their years at university in York - a real wander down Memory Lane.”

In Imogen’s book three of the four guardians have known each other since university; the eternally nomadic Tiger; the shy and practical Leon; and Maggie, a brilliant lawyer. But the fourth guardian is a mystery to the others, who have never heard of former model Hope before.

The plot evolves as Imogen writes. “Much as I try to plot my books out beforehand, I just can’t do it. I start with the idea of what the book is about and who the characters are, and then I just take it from there, making it up as I go along. It makes for an exciting - and slightly scary - ride.”

“I am at my creative best in the morning, so I try to write at the start of the day. I have a daily word count that I aim for and so I generally keep going until I hit it. I will then do marketing and more administrative tasks in the afternoon.”

Imogen began writing Impossible to Forget in January 2020, just before the Coronavirus pandemic struck the UK, and apart from a trip to the University of York, she carried out research from her desk.

Her head is always buzzing with story ideas. “My next book will be published in December so that one is already complete, but I have lots of ideas for what might come after that,” she says.

*Impossible to Forget by Imogen Clark is published by Lake Union Publishing.

*Imogen will be appearing at Grove Bookshop, 10 The Grove, Ilkley, on Thursday March 31.

If you would like to attend contact the bookshop for details,