MY WRITING LIFE IN A NUTSHELL…
- warm, witty, whimsical stories of English life
- memoirs and essays about life in an English village
- friendly, down-to-earth how-to books for other authors
- supportive books for those affected by Type 1 diabetes
When I’m not writing books, I’m busy with other book-related activities:
- directing Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival, which I founded in 2015
- taking part in other literary festivals and events for authors
- featuring as a regular panelist on BBC Radio Gloucestershire’s Book Club
- on my Writing Life blog, which includes columns I’ve written for other publications and blogs
- on the Alliance of Independent Authors’ Self-publishing Advice blog, of which I’m editor
HELPING OTHER AUTHORS
- helping other authors as Author Advice Centre editor and ambassador at the global Alliance of Independent Authors
- running two writers’ groups in Bristol and Cheltenham
But my writing life hasn’t always been like this – nor has it taken the route of most sensible people’s.
MY BACK STORY
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.
I then 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.
As a freelance, 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.
When I left Westonbirt in 2010, I started blogging, and book projects and ambitions started to materialise as if by magic. See the menu at the top of this page to find out more about the different aspects of my writing life as it is today.