I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. As a kid, I’d keep a diary on holidays, and I wrote stories about anything and everything, imagining the cat was a warlock in disguise, that old holly bush in the garden a portal to a secret world, and the nice woman next door a dangerous Cold War spy.
After my English degree, I joined the real world and became a PA. It was quite a shock, I can tell you, to find I wasn’t Jo March in Little Women after all! Eventually, drawn back to the world of words, I trained as a journalist and got my first job on a paper, but I never expected anyone to say, ‘wow, you can write! That front page exclusive is yours!’
Which was lucky, because they didn’t!
For the past 20 years, I’ve worked as a writer and sub-editor on all sorts of titles, from women’s weeklies to the trade press, contributing articles and opinion pieces to a host of publications alongside the ‘day job’. For example, I used to write the TV review column for MsLondon magazine as well as share my views on everything from my skills at Irish dancing (Michael Flatley can rest easy) to ‘why he’s not calling you any more’. Currently, you can often find my views aired in a column in Woman’s Weekly called It’s A Funny Old World.
And all that time, I’ve been writing stories. While working as PA in Holland, I started sending them to magazines in the UK – the first one I ever sold was a romantic comedy to Woman’s World.
I’ve now had over 1,200 published, which have appeared regularly in Woman, Woman’s Own, Woman’s Weekly, best, Take a Break, Take a Break Fiction Feast, and that’s life, as far afield as South Africa and Australia, and as far back as wonderful titles such as Woman’s Realm and Just Seventeen.
In 1999, I had my first novel published, Hush Hush, followed, in 2001, by A Tale of Two Sisters, print-published by Town House & Country House and Simon & Schuster respectively. Both are now available as e-books, published by Corazon Books.
In 2017, Corazon published Four Riddles for Jane Austen (and her artful maid Tilly), written to mark the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death, melding crime writing with immersion into Jane Austen’s Regency world.
In 2014, I was among the first students in the UK to be awarded an MSc in Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes. I know that writing can contribute to wellbeing and personal development, because it’s been crucial to me in both areas. One of my aims is to help others discover similar benefits by tapping into their inner scribbler. Currently, I facilitate creative writing groups for Mind, the mental health charity. I’m also very privileged to visit two local hospices on an ongoing basis, joining day centre patients in fun writing activities.
Meanwhile, I have another novel bubbling away in my head – and there will always be more stories!