I’m the author of the adventure mystery series The Secret of the Tirthas (the final book, The Unknown Realms, is due early summer 2018).
I was born in Eastbourne and grew up in Warwickshire. At school I used to write all the time – action adventure stories involving my friends as heroes and villains, which got passed around the class. I was sure I was going to be a writer, but somehow it all got lost during my college years in Southampton and Stirling, in Scotland. I began writing poetry in my twenties at the same time as working for environmental organisations, first in the old industrial valleys of south Wales, then in London. I was spurred on by getting poems published in poetry magazines such as Poetry Ireland and The New Welsh Review, as well as specialist publications for schools. My work also included running Poetry and Place projects, in which school children worked with poets to write poems about their local area – some of which were then inscribed on public artworks.
Then a few visits to a lovely garden in a remote part of Herefordshire gave me the idea for an adventure / mystery series, The Secret of the Tirthas, and I began writing adventure stories again. I loved the idea of having a garden of rooms with portals to special and mysterious places all over the planet, which I based on places I had travelled to.
I now work part-time for a charity in London and also run school sessions on my books. I write whenever I get the chance and read very widely. I love contemporary fantasy, things where the supernatural infringes subtly on everyday reality. A lot of the best of this is written for younger readers (The Dark is Rising, Harry Potter, His Dark Materials, The Lie Tree).
I live in a lovely area of rolling tree-clad hills 25 miles south of London, so I like getting out and rambling. When I lived in Scotland I did a lot of proper hill walking, but it’s going to be a while before I can get my two small boys up a mountain. Thankfully, there’s nothing too high for them here in Surrey. Besides writing, reading and walking, I like going to gigs with friends in London, including many of my old school friends – the ones who starred in my very first stories.