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Sunday, 1 September, 2002, 23:10 GMT 00:10 UK
Mel B sets the record straight
Mel B
"This book is going to make a lot of people shut up"
Former Spice Girl Mel B, who is currently filming a BBC TV drama and has just published her autobiography, Catch A Fire, speaks to BBC News Online.

Leeds-born Mel B shot to stardom in 1996 as one fifth of the phenomenally successful Spice Girls.

Emma babysits for me and I went round to Vicky's for dinner not long ago.

Mel B on the other Spice Girls
The group continued as a foursome following the departure of "Ginger Spice" Geri Halliwell in 1998 and the same year Mel tied the knot with dancer Jimmy Gulzar.

The marriage was short-lived, but the couple had a daughter, Phoenix Chi, born in 1999.

Did you always intend to write an autobiography?

I've kept a diary since I was young. I used to write it in a way that no-one else would understand - just in case my mum or anyone else read it.

I've got books of the stuff. I was looking back at a few of them and I thought "I wouldn't mind publishing this."

Is it all your own work?

I wouldn't have anybody else write about my life. They wouldn't use the same words as I would. I've always loved writing stories, right from when I was at school. It was a really good learning process for me to write a diary.

Geri and Victoria have already published books. How will yours be different?

Spice Girls
Mel's still sees other Spice Girls - occasionally
I think an autobiography should be about your feelings and what you went through. I've written about how I felt when I got back to the hotel room, but I haven't really focused on what the press think I'm going to write about.

It's different because it's coming from what I felt right then - totally oblivious to the screaming fans outside.

Is the book a chance for you to set the record straight with the press?

They have always written about me in a negative way - I've been the one with the loud mouth, the one with the opinions. I think this book is going to make a lot of people stand up and shut up.

You have had some tough times. Was the book painful to write?

Mel B
She wanted to take acting "more seriously"
When I went back to write up the link-ups, I realised why I had done things. That was the most painful part. Looking back as an adult, you have sorted it out in your head.

I was thinking: "Oh you poor little girl. Look what you did." But it was therapeutic at the same time.

Your book is named after the Bob Marley album. Is that special to you?

Yeah. It is. My dad always used to be playing Bob Marley.

Tell us about the new BBC drama, Burn It.

I decided I wanted to take this acting business a bit more seriously. I trained in dance, drama and music from four to 16. It's in my blood.

My character started off quite small, then the writer said he wanted to make my character bigger. I thought "Oh my God - that means I have to learn paragraphs of dialogue."

But at the same time, I thought it was a compliment and now my character's massive. I play a nurse. She's a single parent who doesn't believe in settling down. She's quite feisty.

Do you still see the other Spice Girls?
Geri Halliwell
She can't see a musical reunion with Geri Halliwell

Emma babysits for me and I went round to Vicky's for dinner not long ago.

It's not the same as it used to be, because we used to see each other every single day, but it's nice that we can still pick up the phone or meet for a drink or lunch.

Do you get together very often?

We are all quite busy. It's more of a one-on-one thing at the moment. Emma's writing her album - she's going backwards and forwards to Spain, Vicky's based a bit in London and a bit in Manchester and Melanie's living in LA.

What's the situation with you and Geri?

She wrote me a really lovely letter not so long ago, but she's doing her thing and I'm doing mine. We haven't seen each other for four or five years now, but there are no bad feelings.

Is a Spice Girls reunion on the cards?

I think the four of us in a good few years will get back together and do a bit of music, but there's nothing planned as yet.

And not with Geri?

No. I don't think so.

Phoenix must be growing up now.

She's lovely. One of the reasons I did acting is because I don't have to fly here, there and everywhere. I can spend more time at home. I bought my house four years ago and I've hardly spent any time there.

Has being a mum put you off the showbiz lifestyle?

No. I still dip in and out of it, but rather than come up to London and go partying all night, I'd rather have a dinner party with friends and family at my house.

I'm a mum who wakes up with her daughter and puts her to bed at night.

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