What to say about myself… It’s tricky, isn’t it? Too much and you risk boring people rigid, too little and you can sound as dull as.
I’m a lover of red hair. All my mother’s family are red-heads and both my gorgeous boys are ginger, though my fella, a musician, is brunette like me. Born in Liverpool 8, in a Georgian terrace in the shadow of the Anglican cathedral, we moved to Wales after my father died. Wales remains my spiritual home, though I love, love, love London, where I lived in my 20s, and Brighton where I live now, within walking distance of the sea and the South Downs. The Sussex countryside is beautiful, but I miss the drama of north Wales with its mountains and wide, sandy beaches, and my family, of course. My fella, Fred, my boys, Morgan and Cameron, my sister, Helen, my mum, Marian, and my stepfather, Mike, are the best kind of family: loving, supportive, maddening.
Unlike many writers I know, I did not always want to be a writer. As a child I only ever wrote when forced to do so by my English teacher, Miss Logan. However, I was a voracious reader (and still am) and my life has been characterised by storytelling. After a degree in English Literature, I worked as an actress and when I hadn’t won an Oscar by 30 and wanted children, I turned to journalism and copywriting – storytelling with a smidgen more truth. Perhaps. And when my boys were little, I began experimenting with fiction.
After some success with short stories – and many rejections – I turned to the novel. Although it was in no way easy (it was the opposite) I knew very quickly that I had found my form. Rejections followed, along with longlistings and then shortlistings in a number of competitions, and it was a win in a debut novel competition that led to the publication of my first novel, BloodMining, in 2011.
I’ve blathered on and on and on about my second novel, Public Battles, Private Wars, in various newspapers, journals and magazines (there are links on the novels page). After this, I signed a two-book contract with award-winning Welsh press, Accent. The first, Redemption Song, was published in January 2016 with Skin Deep in June 2017. You can find out a little more about these two here.
Also, I work part-time as an editor and mentor, freelance and for The Writing Coach and Cornerstones Literary Consultancy. I was a founding member and editor of Virago supported project hagsharlotsheroines.com. Although the website is no longer live you can take a peek here at the British Library web archive: http://www.webarchive.org.uk/ukwa/target/116802/source/subject.
I’m passionate about clothes – and I love finding a bargain, a trait inherited from my maternal grandmother – and make-up; I love art, music, and visiting foreign cities. Despite being an unsporty kind of woman, I broke the school long jump record at 12 – it was the first time I had ever jumped (competitively). I’ve always believed in karma – put out generosity, kindness and love, and it will come back to you. In my journey this far, it has proved true – I’ve encountered more kindness and love than anything else.
Peace, love, read.
Here are some links to interviews and so forth if you’re hungry for more (*hear me laughing*)
Interview in Glow Magazine: Diversity of Storytelling
Guest post A Sex Life with Teens? at Betty Herbert’s This is Love. Sept 2013
Guest post Tell Me No Lies, on memoir, at Susan Howe’s The Long and Short of It. Sept 2013
Guest post (on editing) at The Writers’ Workshop. Jan 2012
Author interview on Reader I Read It here.
Ether author of the week, 10 October 2011. Read the interview here. You may have to scroll down a bit!
Interview with writer Alison Wells in her Mother Writer series, March 2011.