For peaceful listening I'm very keen on Gershwin, and in the summer I'd choose the Glyndebourne recording of Porgy and Bess because it is outdoor music. Apart from the great song "Summertime", it is hot music in every way and it has a strong story to it. I can't resist a good story.
I never seem to tire of Gershwin. I've been listening to his music since I was a young teenager. I play it in the car, but it is also music I would like to hear coming out of an open window in the summer. In the recording I have, Willard White sings Porgy. I play it on a very old CD-player which is perched on a kind of counter top in a passage between the kitchen and the dining room, and from there the music echoes round the ground floor of the house.
I don't usually sit down and solemnly listen to music. I like to listen while I'm doing something else, like ironing in the garden with a very long flex on the iron, or shelling peas. I live in the country, and I think it is partly because I have the Cotswolds round me that I like exotic music.
I gave this CD to myself five or six years ago, in the summer of The Rector's Wife, which was a turning point for me. Before that we were in a financial condition that meant nobody bought presents for anyone, so buying Porgy and Bess was rather celebratory.
Interview by Pamela Coleman. Joanna Trollope's latest novel, Next of Kin, was published in paperback by Black Swan in June.