NEWS: I have been nominated as a finalist for the Page Turner Awards for my novel, Hunger, see below.
I have loved reading for as long as I can remember. I’d always had a vivid imagination, but once I learned to read, at the age of 4, an amazing new world opened up for me. The world of the library. Of books that I devoured at such speed the librarians doubted that I’d actually had time to read my daily allowance. From then on, I was hooked, and books became the backdrop to my world. And that led to writing stories…
I wrote my first novel at the age of 13. A gothic novel that relieved the boredom and unhappiness of boarding school. I found it recently and it wasn’t nearly as bad as I’d feared. But years of working in London kept me away from writing fiction, and it wasn’t until I came back to the West Country that I started writing again. I produced my first full length novel at the age of 30 when a friend lent me his computer.
Although I wasn’t able to write while working in London, I kept diaries in which I wrote every day, and I read, as much as I could. If a book was really good, I would read it walking down the street, or waiting for my bus. I would stand on the tube, oblivious to the world around me, for I had my own world in my hand. Daphne du Maurier or Mary Wesley often transported me to Cornwall, somewhere far away from the grime and bustle of a big city. Ann Patchett followed, Elizabeth Berg, Marge Piercy, Sebastian Faulks. Angela Lambert, Margaret Atwood, Winston Graham, Deborah Moggach, Patrick Gale, Jo Jo Moyes and Fay Weldon. So many writers and so many wonderful worlds that I immersed myself in.
I wrote several novels, over the years, but grew discouraged. Getting an agent or a publisher was so HARD. Instead of spending enough time editing, I wrote another novel, then another. Then I started writing articles, and at the age of 50 I became a journalist, which I loved, and which suited my low boredom threshold.
But after about ten years, I felt flat and listless. It wasn’t till I spoke to another journalist that I realised what was missing. Fiction. And so I started again, plotting another novel carefully, in conjunction with an online writing course. My tutor was very encouraging, and so was an editor I sent the novel to for further advice. And so Hunger is looking for its place in the publishing world. Meanwhile I have just finished the first draft of my next novel, The Sixth Scent.
While I will always be proud of my five Cornish literary walking books, fiction has always been my first love. Being published is my ultimate goal, but I just love the sweet torture of constructing a novel. And sharing it with those who want to read it.
My top ten books are
◆Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne du Maurier
◆Rhode Island Blues by Fay Weldon
◆Harnessing Peacocks by Mary Wesley
◆Me Before You by Jo Jo Moyes
◆Never Change by Elizabeth Berg
◆The Truths and Triumphs of Grace Alderton by Anstey Harris
◆Good Grief by Lolly Winston
◆Meet me at the Museum by Anne Youngson
◆At Sea by Laurie Graham
◆Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell
Can Laura help save her daughter from anorexia, and learn to trust the man she once loved?
Having suffered from anorexia myself many years ago, I wanted to create some insight into this baffling and terrifying illness, but write about it both from the mother’s and daughter’s points of view. I also wanted to write about what might happen when a first love reappears at a time when both of them are feeling vulnerable, and what the consequences might be.
Due to the pandemic, many lives have been blighted by depression, isolation and grief, and I wanted to explore the way that our relationships with those we love can either destroy us, or provide the hope, laughter and nourishment that we all need.
THE SIXTH SCENT
Five week old Mollie was abruptly removed from her parents when a farmer travelled to Ireland to buy some ponies and noticed a litter of terrier puppies. Mollie arrived at a farm in Cornwall and, a week later, was despatched to her new home.
Moll is the narrator of her story, which becomes entwined in her owners’ complex lives. A feisty, opinionated, no-nonsense dog, she quickly learns the power of love and attempts to teach her owners how to deal with the rollercoaster of ill health, death, grief and the joy of starting again. And again….
Canine observations on the power of love over life and death, and Moll's dogged determination to look after her owner, come what may.