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My writing life

My whole life seems to have centred around the written word. I have been telling stories for as long as I can remember, writing stories and plays for my younger siblings and then for my own children.

My writing career started as a reporter on a Kent newspaper. Then I became assistant to a small publisher, writing pieces on local history for the guide books he produced. When I moved to West Sussex I worked as editorial assistant on the West Sussex Gazette, finally moving to the county library service where I stayed for over twenty years.

I had always dreamed of being a fiction writer and over the years sent off short stories to magazines and entered writing competitions – with no success. Early retirement offered me the opportunity to concentrate on my writing and I really worked at it, telling myself that ‘practice makes perfect’ and ‘perseverance pays off’.

And it did.

Eighteen months after leaving the library I had my first short story published, followed by many others. In 2000 I was runner-up in the first Harry Bowling Novel competition which led to my novel being read by an agent. Although she did not take me on, she encouraged me to keep writing. But it wasn’t until 2008 that my first full length novel, ‘Abigail’s Secret’, was published. Four more followed, including in 2010 and after many re-writes, ‘Threads of Silk’ - that original competition entry.

My published list also includes nine My Weekly pocket novels, all of which have been re-issued in large print paperback format. And I still find time to write the occasional short story or article.

My main interest is historical fiction and I really enjoy researching and writing about the Victorian age, the two world wars and the period between the wars. The hundred years between the 1850s and 1950s was a time of massive social change which gives a lot of scope for story telling and creating characters who live through those changes.

My non fiction also reflects my interest in history and I love seeking out quirky facts and unusual people, places and traditions to write about. My articles have been published in The Countryman, Heritage, The Lady, Best of British, Evergreen, Bygone Kent, This England and many others.

I have been editor of the Chichester Literary Society’s quarterly newsletter since its formation in 2005. The society holds monthly meetings with talks on famous and not so famous authors, both classic and modern, as well as organising annual literary walks and outings.

As secretary of the Chichester Writers’ Circle, I often give talks and workshops for our members. I have also given talks on my writing life to local libraries and Women’s Institutes and have taken part in the Oxfam Bookfest and Selsey Festival’s 'Meet the Authors' days. For several years I was a judge for the Age UK West Sussex writing competition.

I am available for talks and workshops. If you are interested, please email me on the 'contact me' form.

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