I’ve been an avid reader for as long as I remember; tried to scribble stories at 6 years old, fell in love with poetry at seven, with Shakespeare at 11, and pounded out my first novel at 14 on an old manual typewriter. Yet I didn’t have the confidence to send it to a publisher.
Looking back, though I grew up within a wonderfully happy, working-class family, self-confidence was always an underlying problem. At 16, I signed up for a secretarial course – primarily so I could translate my illegible scribble into typescripts and earn a living at the same time. I spent the next ten years doing my best to escape from office work.
My jobs included adult education lecturer, working in a pub and running a theatre school for kids. In my spare time, I joined a drama group, where I met my husband. And still my scribbling continued. In addition to two more (shelved) novels, I penned newsletters, PR articles, advertisements, poems, editorial, plays and pantomimes: even a co-written musical for a Suffolk drama group. But still I shied away from agents and publishers. Instead, I set about completing my education part-time: because that felt achievable. Fourteen years later, I emerged with an OU BA (Hons) in lit and creative writing, an MA and a Doctorate in Shakespeare studies from Royal Holloway in Egham. It then seemed natural to turn my thesis into a book, which was published by Palgrave MacMillan in 2020! Now, I’m at last combining all my interests and loves into writing fiction.
So, what changed? Perhaps the final acceptance of who I am: someone who loves telling stories of other people’s journeys. Travels that aren’t measured in miles and continents, but in dreams and persistence, despite all the odds. I’m fascinated by stories woven from others, which is one of the reasons I’m drawn to Shakespeare. For me, his writing is the ‘stuff that dreams are made on’: certainly mine.
Enter my first modern Shakespeare-themed thriller: So Now Go Tell. Its heroine also follows many winding paths until she stumbles on the one that – though it draws her into her worst nightmare – ultimately helps her to realise her dream.
I love spending time with my wonderful husband, son and daughter-in-law, my gorgeous little granddaughter, and with friends. I also relish reading books of all kinds, have recently completed my first romcom, direct plays and run Shakespeare acting workshops (see ‘Other Work’ for more information).