I started writing more than twenty years ago and have had several short stories published in magazines and anthologies. My first novel, 'The Generation Club', won the 2008 Yeovil Literary Prize and I self-published this, and two subsequent novels: 'Distant Cousins' and 'Finding Bella'. I have written song lyrics, set to music and recorded by a professional jazz singer, and have also been a freelance writer for Penguin Longman, contributing to their series of reading books for the English Language learner market, mainly adaptations of contemporary novels or film tie-ins. Two of the books I adapted: 'The Kalahari Typing School for Men' (2010) and 'The Cellist of Sarajevo' (2014), were finalists in the Language Learners Literary Awards for their year.
My other passion, alongside writing, is jazz and I am a club promoter and a booking agent for musicians. When I'm not writing or jazzing I make patchwork quilts and theatre costumes, and get some much-needed exercise from yoga and ballroom dancing.
Have had some lovely reviews recently for 'Starting Over', including this one in arts magazine Ingenu/e:
Summer 2022 Issue 36:
This book is like the Tardis - it's definitely bigger on the inside! A sudden tragic death; a girl sleeping rough; secrets and lies; dysfunctional families; selfless actions; political machinations; and a close-knit community. 'Starting Over' has all this and more.
When kind-hearted Mavis befriends a homeless girl she little knows that her generous action will alter more than one life. When the girl suffers a senseless attack Mavis takes her in. But is the girl who she says she is, and what kind of welcome will there be for her at the housing complex where Mavis lives?
In another part of the country a loyal friend investigates a missing persons search for her fellow university student; and thus wheels are set in motion that will blow the lid off nefarious dealings and ruin more than one career.
Back in the Close, Mavis' neighbours each have their own situations to deal with - will teenage Felix and his uptight mother resolve their differences, will Karen succeed in her quest to woo the recalcitrant Ed, but with the residents' mix of characters spanning four generations the support of this little community is equal to the range of challenges, both domestic and romantic, that are thrown up.
Being presented with this broad cast of characters, which wouldn't be out of place in a complicated crime drama was, at first, slightly bewildering, but as their personalities were fleshed out they started to pop off the page and I warmed to them and became invested in their various trails and tribulations.
The title 'Starting Over' touches many of the themes woven into the story, which is revealed page by page, scene by scene, with subtle hints to keep the reader guessing. The main plot line courses through the book like a river, starting as a small trickle then gaining momentum as it is fed by the tributaries of the sub-plots, until it swells into the swirling torrent of it's denouement.
I was quickly drawn in, intrigued by the main story arc, entertained by the characters' exploits, drawn so vividly, and even found myself moved on more than one occasion. I wholeheartedly enjoyed it, I think you will too.