One day, as all my best stories began, I started writing. I wrote in secret. I thought about writing before I went to sleep; I thought about it when I woke up. Writing rapidly took over my life. I didn't plan the story, I just wrote until it came to a kind of end. It was messy and sprawling with too many adjectives which only a mother could love - which mine did when I very shyly asked her to read it. She encouraged me to carry on, so I did.
After doing several workshops with Writing Events Bath, and with SCBWI (the Society for Children's Books Writers and Illustrators), I joined the Golden Egg Academy, where editors Imogen Cooper and Abi Kohlhoff helped knock my first novel into shape. I wrote a further two novels with guidance from an agent before taking a Write A Novel course with Faber Academy. All of these workshops and courses have really improved my understanding of story-telling and I'm incredibly grateful for the contacts I've made - both fellow writers and industry professionals - without whose support, I might well have hidden myself and my stories away.
BATH Novel Award
My most recent novel, The World Within, was shortlisted from an incredible 1,012 entries from 35 countries for the Bath Children's Novel Awards 2020! I received some brilliant, insightful feedback from the junior judges which has encouraged me to redraft and also to write a new story.
“An ambitious and imaginative urban fantasy with an unusual collection of characters and distinctive setting.”
2020 judge, Stephanie Thwaites of Curtis Brown
I wrote The World Within in 2020 just as the first lockdown began. I’d fortuitously enrolled in an online Write A Novel course with the Faber Academy and began it with a vague idea of a trapdoor trapping people but with no idea why. The main character, Delilah, grew from seeing my own children’s fear of actually leaving the house during a new pandemic, while also being aware isolation in itself can be a dangerous thing. Writing is, for me, very freeing and therapeutic and I never needed it more than in that difficult year. I thought I was being quite rash entering The World Within so quickly after writing it into the Bath Children’s Novel Award but I felt the story - and Delilah in particular - so closely connected to the year we’d all had, that I had to try. And now, of course, I am really glad I did!
I made a three-minute animation of the prologue of The World Within. To see it, click on the youtube link.
Bath Short Story Award
When I wrote The Ghost Boy, I'd been reading a lot of Alice Munro - the best short story writer I've found so far. I entered the 2,200 word story into the Bath Short Story Award 2014 expecting nothing. It was a complete shock when it beat over a thousand other entries to win! You can read the story below. The Ghost Boy, is available to buy in digital format as part of the Bath Short Story Award 2014 Anthology, a collection of the top 20 short stories. As well as the story appearing in the anthology, I designed the cover using a detail from my collage painting, The Circus Acorns.
“I am alone in my room between two worlds.”