Not for me the most frequent starting point of local paper reporter! My first journalistic post was on the international trade journal, Telecommunications, read around the world, in the days when mobile phones were rare, perhaps because they were the size and weight of a housebrick.
Lured by a handsome man and a salary increase, I hopped over the fence to PR consultancy, where I spent many years writing press releases, articles, brochures and newsletters. I wrote for national trade press and special interest magazines on topics ranging from company cars to cat litter, from superstores to factory shops, from private education to public health. My favourite projects were the Wall’s Pocket Money Monitor for Wall’s Ice Cream and launching Clark’s Village, the first factory shopping centre in the country.
I also spent 13 years writing about education as part of a marketing role at Westonbirt School, a traditional girls’ boarding and day school in the heart of the beautiful Cotswold countryside. I’m not sure how I lasted so long there, being politically very left-wing – though the joy of working in a grade-I listed mansion in a private 250 acre estate may have helped.
As a freelance, in the past I’ve written for Cotswold Life and Country Garden & Smallholding (now Country Smallholding) on subjects such as organic box schemes, poultry keeping and country crafts, and I very much enjoy writing regular columns for the two magazines closest to my home. You can find these articles among my blog posts, tagged Hawkesbury Parish News and Tetbury Advertiser. These days my freelance commissions are primarily for writing-related publications including Writing Magazine, Mslexia and the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook Guide to Self-publishing.
When I left Westonbirt in 2010, I started blogging, and projects related to books, reading and writing started to materialise as if by magic. I spent three very rewarding years working for the national children’s reading charity Readathon, promoting children’s reading for pleasure, at home and in hospitals. In 2013 I was appointed commissioning editor of the Authors’ Advice Centre blog at the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) until 2019. I also contributed to ALLi’s series of advice books for authors, and I am still a UK Ambassador for ALLi. In 2022, I began teaching a twice-yearly course called Simply Self-publish for Jericho Writers. I also give occasional talks at writing conferences and literature festivals and am often asked to be a judge for events such as Stroud Short Stories. I have also contributed to magazines for writers, including Mslexia and Romance Matters.
In 2014 I began to self-publish my fiction, and there followed three collections of short stories, nine novels, a novella, and two three novelettes. Two of those novels were shortlisted for the Bookbrunch Selfies Award, given for the best independently published adult fiction in the UK.
In 2022 I gained three publishing contracts, licensing English language rights for my two series of novels to Boldwood Books, audiobook rights for seven novels to Saga Egmont, and German translation rights to DP Verlag.
I now write full time.