Finding Inspiration in Every Turn
Growing up on a small island in the Pacific Ocean and going to boarding school on the other side of the world in frostbitten Yorkshire, books and stories always provided me with that magic carpet I needed to escape to other worlds and into other lives. I've always loved fiction ever since discovering Enid Blyton and Beatrix Potter in primary school. Jilly Cooper, JRR Tolkien, Georgette Heyer and Daphne du Maurier held me spellbound during my teenage years. What's more, my father wrote historical romance fiction and impressed on me the utter joy to be found in a good yarn. I knew becoming an author was possible, but it took me a long while to dig in and believe in my own power to write.
After graduating with an MA in history, I spent eight years in the British military: including a stint living in Edinburgh Castle (where history is steeped in its frigid stone walls and howls at you from the ramparts); I was posted to Paderborn in Germany; I enjoyed a stint at Chelsea Barracks in London... and in between all these military postings, I served in four operational tours in war-torn Bosnia as a liaison officer, interpreter and running the troops' magazine. During those years, I also shed my rose-tinted, somewhat naive view on life, but I developed a real appreciation of humanity's capacity for compassion, kindness, resilience and survival. Having had a front row seat in the arena of history-in-the-making, I don't think I'll ever take life's precious gifts for granted again. Life is not black and white; I want to write the grit as well as the light.
Never a career officer, I left the army, survived a couple of years in public relations running Microsoft UK's Press Centre, before becoming an English and history teacher.
When I’m not teaching nowadays, I'm usually either doggedly tracking down a historical thread, or pulling my hair out trying to translate primary (and secondary) sources written in a foreign language, or trailing after the distant echo of a character from a bygone (but totally riveting) era, or here at my desk trying to conjure ideas into words and words into a story...
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