About

Two women are responsible for my love of literature. My grandmother, who taught me to read as soon as I could walk and my mother who, at the hint of an ‘off-day’, let me stay in bed with a hot water bottle, a warm drink and a bowl to be sick in. She had a theory I was going to be a writer. ‘After all,’ she’d say, ‘Jane Austen wrote in bed.’ I forgave her ignorance.

I often visited the library twice a day but the writing waited until I was thirteen, on holiday in Cornwall, reading Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca. I read it in bed, at mealtimes, even on walks. I wrote fantasy love affairs in my head and, after our family palled-up with another with a son a bit old than me, I wrote lusty thoughts in my notebook. Which were discovered by my mother, who tore up the notebook and threw it in a dustbin. So much for encouraging my writing career.

When I was eighteen, I entered a Sunday Times competition for the best profile piece. I interviewed a famous man. The winning entry was a profile of the writer’s grandmother. At work, I discovered a portable typewriter and, despite being unable to type, wrote short stories and submitted them to women’s magazines without having a clue about presentation let alone the necessary research into readers’ likes and dislikes.

Marriage and children put a stop to writing until I discovered the Swanwick Summer School and abandoned my family to indulge in a week-long flirtation with other writers, information and advice, eating and drinking. After several years, I published a short genre novel. I had arrived.

I pitched my ambitions higher and wrote a block-buster. All the rage at the time. I secured an agent! The verdict was the book was not good enough. Never mind. Joanna Trollope was the new name. I imitated her. We lived in Egypt for 2 years where I completed two full-length novels, both returned to me.

I completed an MA in Creative Writing at Chichester Uni; two wonderful years learning and experimenting. I wrote a poem (published) a short story (published) and a play for radio (rejected). I started a new novel (on-going).

Along the way I have gathered small successes which keep me going. I tell myself  being short listed for a writing prize is better than winning since I still have the story but also a new item for my CV. I attend events run by Spread the Word, The Royal Literary Society and The Society of Authors. I aim to write every day.

My most recent project is to write a memoir in which no agent is interested. The self-publishing route beckons and I’m going for it.

Why do I write?
Why do any of us write?
Is it because we want to take our life experiences and use them to make sense of them, sometimes to use them to help ourselves come to terms with the uncomfortable, even the unacceptable?
Why do we keep on writing? More specifically, why do we continue to write fiction even when our work is not always – hardly ever – accepted for publication?
We keep on doing it, surely, because we want to get better at it, to convey what we want to say more effectively. Maybe, but not always, to be published.

MA in Creative Writing with the University of Chichester. Open College of the Arts courses on short fiction and novel writing; several Arvon Foundation weeks on short and long fiction.

I am a member of a work-shopping group and of the Royal Society of Literature and The Society of Authors.

Modest Successes
* The Way to a Man’s Heart : short story winning the first prize in the inaugural 2011 Lightship competition. (Anthology published by Alma Books, available from Amazon and on kindle).
Past Imperfect : draft manuscript chosen by Spread the Word for a public Pitch Your Novel event in London.
* Stiff Upper Lip : story shortlisted by Radio 4 for their afternoon story slot
Old Skin and Memories : story shortlisted by Comma Press
No Decent Girl : memoir shortlisted for the Fish Memoir Prize
* Making the Most of It: story shortlisted by the Liars’ League.

* Her Mother’s Daughter : longlisted for the Fish Short Story Prize; soon to be published by https://MIROnline

 

I live in London.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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