I’m the author of The Ghosts of Alice ghost stories and the adventure mystery series The Secret of the Tirthas. I have also published two poetry collections, Up in the Air and The Things We Thought Were Beautiful.
I was born in Eastbourne and grew up in Warwickshire. At school I wrote all the time – action stories involving my friends, which got passed around the class. I was sure I was going to be a writer, but somehow it all got lost during my university years in Southampton, where I did an English degree, and Stirling in Scotland, where I did an MSc in Environmental Management.
I began writing poetry in my twenties at the same time as working for environmental organisations in Wales and London. I was spurred on by getting published in magazines including Poetry Ireland and Poetry Scotland, as well as in specialist publications for schools. I did some public readings, including two at the famous Troubadour Cafe in Old Brompton Road, where Bob Dylan once performed!
Then a few visits to a secluded garden in Herefordshire gave me the idea for the adventure series, The Secret of the Tirthas, and I began writing stories again. I loved the idea of a garden of rooms with portals to mysterious places all over the world. The ‘fantasy’ in the stories was created as much by the hero Lizzie Jones finding herself in amazing real-world places she had never been to before, as by the supernatural elements. As inspiration I used the places I’d been to in my own travels, including a three-month trip to India and a safari in Africa.
I now work part-time for a charity in London and run school sessions on my books. I write whenever I get the chance and read very widely. My favourite books include contemporary fantasy, where the supernatural infringes on everyday reality. Much of the best of this is written for younger readers (The Dark is Rising, Harry Potter, His Dark Materials).
I live in a lovely area of rolling tree-clad hills 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 young boys up a mountain. (STOP PRESS: we went to the Lake District this year and the boys climbed Cat Bells – no complaints!) 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.
Want to know more about me and my books? Check out this interview I did with my US author friend Hoang Chi Truong.