a typical South Downs viewI was born in the north of Scotland, the third of four daughters, but I grew up in Sussex. During my late-teens and twenties, I studied and worked in Reading, London and Oxford but then moved back to Sussex, where I’ve been ever since, living between the sea and the South Downs, where big skies meet open countryside and where, if you are a seafarer (which I’m not) the tides in the creeks bossily dictate what you can do when, on a daily basis.

I have a BA in English Language and Literature, from the University of Reading, a PGCE in English from the University of Oxford, and an MA in Creative Writing (Distinction) from the University of Chichester.

I’m the mother of two teenage girls, and we share our lives with an elderly and charming Lakeland Terrier.

I first thought I might like to be a novelist when I was a child, and my mother bought me a copy of a book called ‘The Far Distant Oxus’, written by two schoolgirls: Katharine Hull and Pamela Whitlock. (The book was re-issued by Fidra Books last year.) I was entranced by it, and it began a longing in me to write my own novel. Being only twelve, and the two authors being fourteen and fifteen, I reckoned then that I had at least two years in which to fulfil my ambition! But as my first novel hits the shelves, some thirty six years later, perhaps in hindsight I have to admit that that assessment was just a little optimistic …

My time is now divided between my family, my writing and teaching English at a local school.

Things I love:

peace and quiet (something of a rarity !)

watching the changing of the seasons

Radio 4

playing the piano

being a veggie

walking my dog

that perfect cup of tea


Books I love:

(Classics first … )

Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

Wide Sargasso Sea – Jean Rhys

Fortunes of War – Olivia Manning

Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte

Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons

(more recent reads:)

Rook – Jane Rusbridge

What’s Eating Gilbert Grape – Peter Hedges

The War of the Wives – Tamar Cohen

Florence and Giles – John Harding

Hurry Up and Wait – Isabel Ashdown

The Gilded Lily – Deborah Swift

Before I Go To Sleep – S J Watson

Dark Matter – Michelle Paver

Mistress of My Fate – Hallie Rubenhold


(perennial favourites …)

Any of the Dick Francis thrillers

The Harry Potter books

Anything by Bill Bryson

John Mortimer’s Rumpole stories

I am represented by Judith Murray at Greene & Heaton Ltd, 37, Goldhawk Road, London W12 8QQ (jmurray@greeneheaton.co.uk)

Photograph of South Downs © Sandy Saunders