A late starter in everything, it’s taken me a long time to arrive at this point, to think, Yes, it seems I am a writer! But I still find it amazing that I can spend my days living in imaginary worlds and even more amazing that other people want to read my words.
How did I begin? When I was a child Dad used to put me to bed – he would tell me a story and sing ‘Go to sleep, my baby’. One of my earliest memories is waiting till he’d gone downstairs and then crouching on the end of my bed and reading my Big Noddy Book by the light of the landing lamp. Naughty, bad for my posture and my eyes, but I didn’t care.
So I’ve always been a reader but unlike a lot of writers I didn’t start scribbling away at an early age. I enjoyed writing stories at school and I did have one early success. Aged ten, I won the school poetry prize for a poem entitled The Rivulet, inspired by my Grade One piano piece of the same name!
As a teenager I poured out anguished, awful private poems but in those days it never occurred to me to be A Writer. Writers, especially the ones I studied at university, like T.S Eliot and James Joyce, seemed to me to be very grand and know a lot. Apart from Virginia Woolf, they all seemed to be men, and most of them were dead.
After mulling over various career options – long-distance lorry driver, nun, percussion player – I became an English teacher.
For many years I enjoyed teaching but every now and then I’d find myself writing something. This feeling – that I wanted to write – was like a niggle, an itch that grew stronger over the years and eventually, the year I turned fifty, I thought, ‘If I don’t have a go now, it will be too late.’ So I left my job and did an MA in Creative Writing which was the start of taking writing seriously.
My first mainstream publication was a story for young children called Second Best which in 2005 was published by the Andersen Press as a picture book with wonderful illustrations by Terry Milne. Sadly it’s out of print now but still available in libraries.
In 2006 I had a story Wind published in Square Cuts, the first anthology produced by Flax, the publishing imprint of Lancaster Litfest.
I still do some teaching, only now I help adults with their writing, which I love. Currently I teach at
Alston Hall. The rest of the time I write – or try to write. And when I’m doing it I think I’m trying to recreate that experience I had as a child reading – of being lost, engrossed, in the world of the story.
My only regret is that I didn’t start sooner – but I hope there are many years and many stories yet to come.