I grew up in Sheffield, as my accent still indicates, but moved South to go to university in London and have moved around a fair bit since, collecting stories, experiences, extra training and friends and colleagues here and there.
At school, when I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I said ‘a ballerina’, but bunions got the better of me and writing seemed less painful. I remember having to read out my first short story in front of the class, titled Help! Help! Help! it went down like Covonia. From then on it was writing or nothing for me.
I find I get withdrawal symptoms if too many days go by without the opportunity to flow imagination onto the page. Some people call it irritability.
My first novel, Selfish Jean, was published after I entered it in a Richard and Judy TV competition. It was long-listed out of 46,000 entries and picked out by my publisher. This confirmed my faith in competitions as an honourable way into print. Competitions also launched some of my early short stories, and I have had several published in magazines since. However, I love the theatre and my initial writing passion was for plays. Some have even been performed, but one of my best ever experiences was with Cloud Cuckoo Land, a play commissioned by a children’s theatre company. It had a cast of over sixty of mixed abilities and ages, but working with this group taught me how kids and creativity can and should be encouraged. The confidence and social skills they develop stay with them forever. More importantly it was great fun. I think the same rules should apply to grown-ups too.
Please see my workshop page for more details and comments from former writing clients.