I have been told I made my debut on a belly laugh. Though there was a war raging, my mother was advised to go and see an amusing show, on the advice of her doctor, because I refused to make an appearance. So I arrived on 23rd January 1941 to the sound of laughter.
When I was fourteen months my family moved to a new home: The Lawns, Eye near Peterborough. The Lawns was the first great love of my life. This wonderful old farmhouse, surrounded by magical grounds, became a fertile playground for my imagination to develop, with the result that I lived in a world of make believe, which included an invisible friend called Mary!
But I soon learnt not everything in life was quite so magical. At five, I started school and I hated it. The teachers were determined to hit my left handedness out of me. It was not called bullying in those days, but a slap across your head, ear or hand certainly did not constitute caring teaching.
That was my world for two years, until my parents sent me off to a weekly boarding school, run by a wonderfully gifted teacher called Miss Webb, who took in a frightened and stuttering seven year old and gave her peace of mind and space for her imagination to flourish again.
At eleven I was sent off to a boarding school where, once again, I became the victim of bullying, both mental and physical. I wrote pathetic letters home, begging to be rescued, but they were obviously not pathetic enough, so I turned to my imagination and my story-telling to get me through my unhappiness.
I wrote my first full length story at eleven and used to read a chapter a night to my dormitory. Eventually the bullying stopped and I learnt to cope with, but always dislike, my school days. I continued to write copious stories, poems and even attempted a ballet, which was torn up by the Head, because I had the nerve to write it on a Sunday!
Then I grew up, fell in love and had two children and eventually three grandchildren. I did all the right things, but not necessarily in the right order. For instance, I went to university when I was the mother of two small children, which proved quite a challenge.I never stopped writing though and spent much of my adult life helping others to enjoy the written word as much as I did. Then when my grandchildren arrived I realised I would love to write for them.
As I looked back to my childhood I remembered the bullying and recalled how the story-telling had helped. I realise, with sadness, bullying still blights the lives of many children today, so the idea of 'The Story Traveller' was born.
I now live in peaceful retirement in rural Oxfordshire with my husband and see my three grandchildren as often as I can.