I was born in Somerset one February many years ago (in fact in a whole different century), and brought up just outside Midsomer Norton until the early seventies when my family moved to Singapore. A few years later we relocated to Cornwall, where we have lived, on and off, ever since. I graduated from Leicester Polytechnic (now De Montford University) in 1985 and spent a year teaching English in Sudan before settling in London where I still live and work.
For as long as I can remember I have wanted to write books. Even at the age of six I would apparently refuse to go to school before I had written a short story!
From Enid Blyton to S.E. Hinton
I penned my first attempt at a novel at nine, and got my first official rejection from a publisher at eleven for my blatant Enid Blyton boarding-school plagiarism. Undeterred, I carried on, amassing more rejections, this time for my S.E. Hinton rip-offs in my early teens. (Imitation is, after all, the sincerest form of flattery.) But S.E. Hinton had a profound effect on my writing (thankfully I had stopped reading Enid Blyton by then) and cemented in my mind the desire to write teenage fiction.
My first published novel, Mohan Alone, came out in 1988. This was a huge milestone, fulfilling something that I had been dreaming about since early childhood, even if it turned out not to be life-changing: I was disappointed to discover that I couldn’t give up my day-job (which at the time was a brief stint in a wig factory, I seem to remember).
My next teenage novel, Secrets, was published in 2002. In between that I was lucky enough to get a series of non-fiction books for children and teens published, covering topics from the supernatural to space (a huge passion of mine ever since). Becoming the next J K Rowling or S E Hinton, however, continues to elude me…
As for the bit in between, when I wasn’t writing I was getting married, getting divorced, travelling, teaching English, travelling some more, acquiring a motorcycle licence – and a parrot – as well as running a motorcycle training company, not necessarily in that order. I have lived in Somerset, Singapore, Jordan, Sudan and Cornwall and am now London-based, still teaching English, always writing, still looking after the parrot, and still dreaming of that next big break….