Some things you might want to know about me . . .
• I was born in Devon, but lived in an 18ft caravan on a farm in Buckinghamshire until I was three. (My dad had just left the navy and my parents were saving up for a house. My dad was used to living in small spaces on a ship. My mum liked being able to read a lot and not having much to clean) My brother loves to tell everyone he slept in a shed attached to the caravan, which is true, because he did. It was so cold at night the water in his glass froze.
• At school I was always really good at reading and English. But I wasn’t very keen on maths. My class teacher, Miss Weatherburn, would rap us over the knuckles with a ruler if we got our times tables wrong (11x11 was the one I could never remember). Teachers aren’t allowed to do things like that anymore. This is a good thing, but thanks to Miss Weatherburn I have never EVER forgotten my times tables. And they are really useful when you are buying say, 7 Kit-Kats at 60p each. Having to buy 11 sherbert fountains at 11p each would still make me panic a bit.
• I was really happy at secondary school, except when teachers said, “Your brother’s very clever” in that sort of “and so what happened to YOU?” way. That was why I decided to do Latin. My brother had failed his Latin exams…and I thought it would show everybody if I passed them with flying colours. After he’d been teaching me for a while, my Latin teacher very kindly said that I didn’t have to do Latin anymore. So I didn’t.
• I did learn to play the violin and tap dance (not at the same time.) I was also quite good at fencing and got some medals for it.
• All the time I was growing up I was writing stories and drawing pictures, but what I really wanted to be was an actress. This made people laugh as I used to be very shy. Then I thought that maybe I’d be a poet. The length of most poems made it seem achievable. I wrote lots and some of them were really terrible. But I got better at it…and even had a few published.
• After school I went to University and read English (with French). Afterwards I got a job as a community worker. On the right is a picture of me (in red t-shirt) with colleagues. Check out those beards! I also have a PGCE…which means I can teach too (which I have done).
• Then I got married and had two boys. My eldest is adopted and has Down’s Syndrome.
• The first books I had published were for younger children and were funny. I started off small…just 1,500 words and worked my way up. By the time I’d written a story that was 15,000 words long I thought that maybe I could write a novel. That was when I decided to write ‘Wickedness’ and its sequel, ‘Deceit’.
• I still like drawing. Here’s a picture I drew of my children’s two guinea pigs Ginger and Brown.
• I also like sailing with my brother in Greece. Sailing is the best form of relaxation I know because you just exist in the moment and forget completely about your leaking roof or why you’ve fallen out with your best friend.
• Until just recently I have never been without a cat or dog...or both. Martha, the oldest cat in the world, also known as The Phantom Widdler, sadly died in March this year.
• My most unappealing habit is chewing my thumb when I get stressed.
• My most appealing habit is making a really good chocolate and rum roulade.
• I read a lot. • My best ever experience on holiday was being out on the Saguenay Fjord in N.E Canada with my two boys. We were whale watching in a small zodiac inflatable. A whale and her calf surfaced just beside the zodiac. Magic.