The first thing is that I am incredibly intelligent, with a face and figure like Marilyn Munroe, I have a glorious singing voice, and dance like a diva. Sadly, all this is a lie, but then I am a fiction writer. I am a granny with voice like a foghorn and as for the figure… I love tea and buns.
My roots are in Tyne and Wear. I spent school holidays with my Uncle Stan and Auntie Isobel who ran the shop my mum grew up in. I've written about her life from time to time. It's in my bones.
I live near London, close to my four children, and three grandchildren. The grandchildren lead me astray and are my shining stars. We dive into The Wellington on the Strand for lunch, where they are thoroughly spoilt.
A few years ago I started to help at Words for the Wounded founded by Margaret Graham after she met a young ex-serviceman who had been shot through the neck in Helmand, leaving him tetraplegic. She runs it with two other grannies and the charity raises money through writing events and competitions, not to mention skydiving or scrambling over military assault courses.
I write novels and I love creating characters that do exactly as I tell them in the world I have created. I wonder if I'm a frustrated megalomaniac or is it because I seem to be in control of little else.
I have an interesting set of relatives. My father was from a large family. One of my cousins grew up in South America on a ranch, which is where she learned to fly. She came to Britain to fly for the Air Transport Auxiliary in the war so it seemed right and proper to write about them in Sisters at War.
I like hands on research so flew a Spitfire simulator, crash landing through a barn. Not something to be proud of. For Above us the Sky we found one of my husband's first submarines, Ocelot, in dry dock at Chatham, so were able to scramble over that, which helped me with the book. He used to swing through the hatches, but there was none of that going on, I can assure you.
I teach and mentor creative writers. I do wish more people would write. Apart from fiction, memoirs should be put together. Too much social history is being lost, and there is interest in everyone's life and times.
To keep me up to date and out of mischief I contribute to Frost Magazine which means I receive books and wine to review, and exhibitions. It keeps me up to date with all the new things coming out. Fantastic
Finally, on the home front I have 'him indoors', an ex-submariner, who understands all things maritime and has helped enormously with my novels, a cat and two dogs; a cockerpoo and a cavachon, who bring us undiluted joy.