Life Story

I was born in New Malden, Surrey to a mother who painted and a father who wrote. My sister and I attended the local convent school where my first literary influence was John Keats.

My earliest ambition was to act and I gained the Licentiate degree in Speech and Drama of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Illness prevented me from continuing on this path and I turned to writing, producing plays, poetry and short stories. I was brought up with the work ethic and, during my recovery, took a variety of jobs. I’ve worked as a doctor’s receptionist, travel clerk, in bookshops, stores and as a teacher. Then I joined the staff of a local newspaper involving run of the mill work such as court reporting, horticultural shows and council meetings, This taught me the discipline of daily writing something I firmly believe in and which I tutor to my creative writing group. I finally landed a job on Woman’s Own where I wrote features and this taught me structure and clarity.

A trip to the South of France gave me the travel bug but I needed to earn a living so I turned freelance. Over the next few years I explored Europe and fell in love with Italy. I juggled writing features and short stories with lengthy stays in the land of dolce vita. It was a great symbiosis as I used my varied experiences in my writing. I became very successful, contributing to national newspapers such as the Telegraph and Times and magazines ranging from Woman’s Journal to the then Titbits. Another great writing job that came my way was writing food and wine features for British Airways High Life. During that time my bestseller Feasting and Fasting was published by HarperCollins followed by The Caring Trap. I finally ended up living in Taormina, Sicily for three years. This gave me great material for writing and I learned to speak fluent Italian.

About 12 years ago I decided to devote myself to play writing and fiction. I completed a postgraduate course in dramatic writing at Sussex University when I wrote the television play Meat. This was followed by two years on the Writers Register at Southampton University when I completed my novel Afterwards. Since then I have written and produced several plays including Primrose based on the wife of Harold Shipman which won the Joyce Goun award and had a professional reading at the Congress theatre, Eastbourne. Another play Homecoming won the Clemence Dane Award. I have also won several awards and competitions for short stories. Currently I am working on a novel set in Giverny home of the impressionist painter, Claude Monet, and Cat Ladies a memoir/travelogue based on my experiences in Sicily and, more recently, my project Catsnip working with feral cats.

My sister and her family are very important to me, as are my friends. A writer needs solitude but I try to balance this with time spent with them. I am passionate about animals and the natural world and, following a visit to Monet’s garden, I am endeavouring to plant my own garden with some of the flowers he loved.