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Pull up a chair and relax while I tell you a bit more about me and my writing.
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Sparks begin to fly when a group of strangers are brought together at a mindfulness-for-wellbeing retreat in the depths of the French countryside...
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I am a UK based author who writes about love, life, family and friendships. My books are known for their surprising and unexpected twists!
My first book series is set in the fictional villages of Hampton Ash and Hampton Waters which nestle on the edge of the beguiling Cotswold countryside. Each book in the series introduces a cast of colourful characters whose lives are far from ordinary.
I was born in the mid-60's to working class parents – my father was a milkman, my mother a factory worker – and grew up on a council estate in the village of Sutton Courtenay in Oxfordshire. I am the youngest of four siblings and my parents strived to put food on the table and clothes on our backs. It wasn’t an easy childhood by any means and I yearned for the school holidays when I could escape with my friends to the bottom of the village. We would spend hours playing in the street or go out riding on our bikes. When the weather was hot, we would venture down to the river or to the brook. We would entertain ourselves for hours; what we lacked in monetary richness our imaginations made up for in abundance.
Coming from similar backgrounds, my friends and I would take it in turns to snaffle a few snacks together; biscuits – crisps if you were really lucky – and even a few slices of bread which we would share and eat heartily, often whilst dangling our bare feet in the cool waters of the stream.
English and art were my favoured subjects at school. I was often caught day-dreaming which got me into trouble on many occasions. I enjoyed nothing more than conjuring up stories and spending any free time I had away from my household chores to draw. I used to create mini-magazines for my friends; my creative skills provided a safe and welcome distraction.
When I left school, my parents gave me an ultimatum that I hadn’t anticipated – either get a job within a week or go to work on the milk round with my father. I managed to secure a job later that day in a factory packing car parts for British Leyland, despite this being far from the career path I had envisaged.
I look back on my time at the factory now with fondness. As you can imagine, working with a large number of women brought forth a lot of fun – and my eyes were certainly opened! However, I quickly became frustrated and de-motivated because I wasn’t being challenged and certainly couldn’t see a way to even begin to start achieving the ambitions I had set for myself. So I returned to full time education.
Things were different this time. I was older (19) and wiser and I wanted to be there. I excelled at my studies, particularly my beloved English. My English teacher took me aside and encouraged me to take my studies further – which I did with excellent results. After the successful completion of my course, I received a letter from the college stating that they had not had a previous student achieve the marks that I had attained. For the first time in my life, I had actually achieved something good!
I was thrilled to have secured a position at Crabtree & Evelyn following this and quickly settled into my new position, receiving a promotion just a short while later. Crabtree & Evelyn was a wonderful establishment to work for and they fully supported its employees that wished to progress further. I was most fortunate to have met the company’s founder, the late Cyrus Harvey Jr on many occasions during his visits to the UK. A lovely, gentle man who always took time out to get to know his staff. I thoroughly enjoyed my time working here. We were one big happy family. But inevitably the bright lights of London lured me away...
One day, I was invited to visit our Kensington Church Street shop in order to gain an understanding of its infrastructure. It was my first ever trip to this big city and I was smitten from the off. I loved everything about it; the people, the places, the camaraderie, the bars, the restaurants, the food – everything! Before long, I had found a temporary position with Cadbury Schwepps and set off to pastures new. It was time for this shy, awkward country girl to shed her cocoon.
I secured a position with a firm of Canadian Stockbrokers called Yorkton Securities. The hours were long, it was incredibly challenging but it was oh-so-wonderful to work there and hard work was handsomely rewarded. I was able to utilise my writing and editing skills producing a variety of regular magazines and newsletters for the stock broking industry. The company’s president was Frank Guistra CM OBC, a lovely and funny gentleman who, together with the rest of the management board, looked after us incredibly well and helped to make some fabulous memories. I met a wealth of interesting people throughout my career here which provided some strong foundations for my future endeavours.
Shortly before the birth of my first child, I decided to move out of the city and take a job locally and began working for Siemens Network Systems. Later, I took a position with AstraZeneca. I really found my niche here and thoroughly loved my work. I travelled extensively throughout my career and liaised with people at all levels, bringing rich rewards in terms of experience and achievement. After the birth of my second child, I took the decision to take a career break which brought forth an opportunity not only to take a breath but also to reflect on how far I’d come and what I still had to achieve. My writing called out to me...
I began running scripts through my minds, thinking of potential storylines and my head started to cram with tales that needed to be told. Eventually I began to write things down – slowly at first – until I found myself taking every opportunity to dash back to my keyboard. As my children grew and worked their way through school and university, I began to spend more and more time writing – and I love every moment of it too. Who knows what I will conjure up next!
I now live in the south west where I spend much of my time writing, reading, meditating and exploring the idyllic countryside.