THE mother of Oscar winning film director Sam Mendes visited a Church Crookham school on Tuesday — the day it was revealed he had secretly wed film beauty Kate Winslet.

But the fairytale marriage was not even mentioned when author Valerie Mendes visited St Nicholas' School to tell pupils about her writing career.

"I didn't even discuss it with her," said Liz Stockton, the manager of Hammicks in Farnham, who organised the VIP visit.

"She is totally committed and blinkered about what she is doing and about writing her books.

"St Nicholas' is a lovely school with lovely girls and it was an ideal place for her to talk about her books."

Valerie, who started writing stories when she was six, read extracts from her new book Coming of Age as well as her first best selling novel Girl in the Attic.

"She talked about what inspired her to write the books and how she goes about writing them," said Liz Hague, head of English at St Nicholas' School.

Published last July, Girl in the Attic centres on 13-year-old Nathan, who is furious when his mother hauls him off to Cornwall for Christmas and then tells him they are to move there for good.

He wants to be back in London with his dad and best friend Tom but then he finds a cottage and a girl — the girl in the attic. Who is she and what is the family secret that haunts her life?

Published last month, Coming of Age is a tale of love, deception and hidden secrets.

It tells the story of nine-year-old Amy, who was left mute and traumatised when her mother was killed in a riding accident.

After talking about both books, Valerie answered questions from the girls and signed copies of her novels.

"She didn't mention her family and no-one asked about it as it wasn't really relevant to our session," said Mrs Hague.

"She is a very interesting lady and the children found her very inspiring. Everyone had a very enjoyable time."

l Sam, who directed American Beauty, and Kate tied the knot on a Caribbean island in front of just three close friends and Kate's daughter, two-year-old Mia.

Even Kate's parents knew nothing about it until the Titanic star came home and told them.

The couple made their first appearance together in Britain at the premiere of Sam's second film, The Road to Perdition.