About Me

I grew up on a farm in Somerset where I spent my formative years damming streams, riding ponies, losing my wellies in the bog and making tree houses. When forced to stay inside I escaped into books; Tom's Midnight Garden, The Little White Horse and The Secret Garden were among my favourites*, and I was a proud member of The Puffin Club and The Tufty Club. There was a boring chunk in the middle of my life when I tried to be mature and sensible, then my kids came along and gave me the excuse to revert to childhood.

My body lives with its family on the river Thames in Bray, but my mind lives in a world of magical mystery, eccentric people and endless adventures that I struggle to shape into compelling characters and intriguing stories.

I am happiest out in the fresh air; on my kayak paddling up the Thames, jogging along the towpath or walking my dog Rumpole. I occasionally do a bit of cooking and enjoy that, as well as helping the kids with their six tortoises and four rabbits that crawl and hop around our garden. (I draw the line at feeding the tarantula.) I can also be found doing the odd headstand under a tree when the wind is in the east

I am proud to be a Samaritans listening volunteer and visit secondary schools as part of The Samaritans school team talking about emotional health. I am a big supporter of the #BookBuddy initiative and am collecting books from far and wide to give to the local schools with whom I am linked. And I absolutely love my secret missions as  The Bray Book Fairy, sharing stories and literacy in unlikely and unexpected places.

Any questions? Get in touch!

* Oooh - I hate choosing books - it's like picking my favourite child! Have to add Stig of the Dump, Charlotte's Web and Olga da Polga to the list as I'm feeling guilty about missing them off!

Adult Fiction & Me

I write adult fiction with a friend under the pen name Ginger Black.

Our first novel, Riverside Lane, was published by Momentum Press and is now available as a paperback and ebook.

Children’s Fiction & Me

I have written five children’s novels, one for each of my kids, but until now I have never looked for a publisher. When Riverside Lane hit the bookshops my kids persuaded me to give my children’s fiction an airing, and since then I’ve been polishing up The Witches’ Punchbowl, which I hope will be available shortly - watch this space!

You already know I review children’s fiction here on The Bookshelf, but you may not know I’m also regular guest on BBC Radio Berkshire, where I review my favourite children’s books of the month on The Book Club with another local author and the show’s presenter Bill Buckley.

Local Schools, Libraries & Me

I visit local primary and secondary schools around the Thames Valley delivering workshops and assembly talks.

I’ve developed a variety of story writing workshops. The latest is a series on 'Stories That Can Save The World, looking specifically at:-

Children's fiction and the refugee crisis

Children's fiction and the natural world 

Children's fiction featuring emotional and mental health

I am willing to tailor sessions to a school’s particular needs. The sessions are ideal for class groups.

I also visit library clubs and school reading groups to discuss children’s fiction and I often use those occasions to solicit questions for interviews coming up on the website.

Get in touch if you, your school or your library would like to join in.