About Me Full

I am Scottish and grew up just outside Edinburgh. The middle child of three, I have an older sister Caroline and a younger brother John. I went to university in Edinburgh and also trained as a nurse.  I have worked in various specialties from community to intensive care.  In 1991 my husband’s job brought us to Sussex. We have three sons; two are still at home, the eldest is working in Hong Kong.

For thirteen years I ran the medical department in a boarding school and taught PSHE and Citizenship. In 2009 I gave that up to write full time. I still go in to school once a week to hear a couple of the younger children read. Writing is such a solitary process - the exact opposite of a busy school - so I enjoy my time spent there with the children.  My favourite time of day is when I walk my dog on the Ashdown Forest and that’s usually when characters take shape in my head.

I have always been a voracious reader and I was twelve when I first realised I might enjoy writing too.  My final year in primary school I won a competition with the SSPCA – a story about how my dog, Snooky, would cope if she had to make her own way in the wild.  A pushy, wee West Highland terrier, I imagined she would do rather well!

I wrote on and off thereafter, just for myself, diaries and the like. Time passed – career, family etc – still writing but nothing that merited a reader and then, in 2004, I signed up for an adult education class in East Grinstead where I was lucky enough to be taught by Andie Lewenstein.

In June 2007, I completed the creative writing certificate at Sussex University – met another great teacher, Catherine Smith - and by that stage had finished the first draft of Tell Me No Secrets. That same year, Tell Me No Secrets was short-listed in two competitions: the Daily Telegraph first 1,000 words of a novel and the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook first 10,000 words of a novel.

In October 2007, I was fortunate to find an agent who was willing to work with me. Although I could write, my plotting needed work and I rewrote the novel from Chapter Six onwards a couple of times.
For any aspiring writers out there, my advice would be to stick at it, sign up for some courses, make writer friends, start your own writing group, listen to criticism, digest it, act on it – don’t give up!

My ultimate goal is to give readers’ pleasure.