I was born within the sound of Bow Bells to an Irish mother and a Scottish father – an interesting combination! My childhood was full of contrasts. On Christmas mornings my sister and I went to Mass with our mother, who was Catholic, and afterwards we went to the grave of Karl Marx in Highgate cemetery with our father, who was an atheist.
My ambition at seven was to be a ballet dancer or a writer. I wrote numerous stories and fell in love with exercise books because of their lovely blank pages. In those days, I remember, I relished them, and I still can’t resist a new notebook today – something about the expanse of white, full of possibility and mystery, like recently-fallen snow.
And as for my other passion – I failed the audition to The Royal Ballet School at eleven. At the time it was devastating, but in retrospect, a very good thing! Boys, friends and homework took over from writing. After studying in Liverpool, I became a teacher. I taught English at a further education college, and wrote short stories and novels in my spare time. Instead of linen, I had pages of typescript in my bottom drawer.
In 2005 I left full-time teaching to do an MA in creative writing at Bath Spa University. My novel ‘Unravelling’ was published in 2010. In 2011 it won both the Chapter OnePromotions Book Award and the Wishing Shelf Independent Book Award and came second in the International Rubery Book Award.
My second novel ‘The Piano Player’s Son’ was published by Cinnamon Press in 2013, after winning their Novel Writing Award. I combine writing with teaching creative writing courses and workshops.
My third novel will be out in late 2015.
I live in Worcestershire with my husband and I have three grown up children.