I was born in London but when I was 18 months old, my parents moved out and I’ve lived in small country towns pretty much ever since. When I was eight we moved to South Wales, where I lived until I left for university. I graduated from Chichester University when it was still Bishop Otter College, with a degree in English Literature with Religious Studies and have spent my adult life in the West Country.
At my first job interview, I answered “where do you see yourself in 10 years” with “writing” as opposed to “progressing in your company.” Didn’t get that job but didn’t become a writer either. Paying the bills, building a career, raising a family – yada yada. In 2015, I decided to change. I entered a competition, posted stories on Facebook, signed up to do Nanowrimo (write a novel in a month) and a Flashnano challenge: 30 days of short pieces. By 2nd November, I decided I was mad. I had my novel outline, but the prospect of writing 50000 words while working full-time, ferrying teenagers, remembering to talk to my husband and running a home seemed impossible. I took my laptop on train journeys, wrote in my lunch break, ignored all but the most essential housework. On one train journey a young woman behind me read over my shoulder as I typed and started a conversation. I was so deep in 1943 that when she spoke, I screamed out loud – just a little embarrassing. Originally, I wasn’t convinced I would be able to summon up one story let alone more than thirty. But the truth is that although coming home from work after a bad day, driving offspring around, meeting my daily Nanowrimo target and trying to think up a story including the word “orange” seemed too much – I got on with it anyway. Meanwhile in the background drums and pianos were practised, teenagers & husband offloaded and dinners burned. At the end of November, with my husband’s support and encouragement from friends, I’d written 50000 words (just), all 30 shorts plus a few more. I felt more relaxed and fulfilled that I have done for years. The flashnano challenge was over and I missed it so much I set myself a different one – an advent calendar of flash fiction. I put 24 words in a jar (candle, angel etc) and I pulled one out each day and wrote a little piece prompted by each one. I just don’t want to lose the momentum. I have learned that all the excuses I made (too much to do, too much noise, everyone will be annoyed) were simply excuses.
I won the Mayor’s Award in Blandford Rotary Short Story Competition in 2016.
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