I’M AN ACTIVE listener, “what if?” asker and nosy people-watcher. I’m a  binge-reader and lifelong logophile. I hoard away snippets of real-life conversations on any piece of paper or tech I have to hand. I love coming across a new word, and I store them away greedily in lists. I’ve always been a writer.

Here are a few things about me that have shaped my writing. I was born in England, where I  now live and work, but I’m a descendant of many generations of Northern Irish family. I lived in Belfast until I was nine years old, during the height of the “Troubles”; this affected me profoundly and has driven my need to write my first novel.

I’m from a family and a region with strong storytelling and oral history traditions; some might say that the family variety tends more to the fairytale, but tales of  Leprechauns hastily glimpsed from the back of a motorbike have shaped me, for better or worse!

Words and books have saved me, and I was already trying to read and write before I started school- I copied out the alphabet on scrap paper, yearning for the day when I could start to learn how to read all those wonderful words. My pocket money went on comics first, sweets after.

My first writing success was winning a short story contest based on a three-word prompt (church, rat, candlestick.) The judges praised the story as “enjoyable and funny.” My first real encouragement to write came shortly after from my first secondary school English teacher, Mr. Church, who inspired me to read more widely and wrote on my 1980 report book that I must “nurture my natural gift for writing.”

I’ve published non-fiction articles on a range of health and well-being subjects, for UK and US publications. I’m now concentrating on my real love, fiction; my first novella, a historical fiction Sci-Fi, The Battle of Watling Street, was published in 2017. I’m currently writing two novels, And the Buntings Flew, set in 1970s Belfast, and a contemporary sequel to The Battle of Watling Street, working title Bondage of The Soil.

I work for a London-based company, where I gained my MBA in 2010. I’m married with one son and his cat sibling. I love making things grow, bonus points if they’re edible. I travel when I can to new places with old galleries, ruins, and museums. I walk in lonely high places when I can, mostly the Peak District and the coast and glens of Northern Ireland; the Scottish Highlands too, when I can make it up there. Making preserves and cordials from the good things I grow and forage in hedgerows is a great way to combine several of these interests; I am an old Irish mammy at heart.