I know it has become a cliché now, but I learned at a very early age that: the solution to most challenges, and to achieving what you want, is to ‘keep calm and carry on’. I was about eight years old, a plump, plain, under achiever when my parents entered me into my father’s work’s sports day. You could not imagine a less athletic child. First up was the needle and thread race. I sucked the cotton and poked it through the eye of the needle, flabbergasted that nobody else seemed able to do it. I plodded to the finishing line and crossed it with a grin and any arms raised in victory. My first taste of success, and I loved it.
I won a cardboard theatre and received a serious telling off for trying to sell tickets for my very own puppet show for a penny each.
I once dressed up as a belly dancer and sat on the pope’s knee. I was living in Crete, and became close friends with a lovely old man, Michalis, who had a kafenion. At carnival time, he said he’d like to dress up for a local party. He looked so remarkably like Pope John Paul that I made him an outfit out of my new, white, shower curtain. His hat kept falling off so I stuck it to his head with chewing gum. The cross around his neck was the lid of a plastic tub — it kept turning around so that he had ‘Vanilla’ in red letters across his chest. I’d made myself a belly dancing outfit which I thought was great, but I have to say, it was Michalis that grabbed all the attention!
I love researching for a story. I begin with an idea, a drama of some sort. When I start writing, I spend most of my time looking up the facts. This always leads to surprises that inevitably weave themselves into my novels. The research for Island of Secrets started when I dug up a rusted machine gun in my Greek garden. Researching for yet another novel about a missing child, let me to research many aspects that concern criminal investigation. I completed two fascinating online courses run by Strathclyde University: Forensic Psychology, and, Understanding Forensic Science.
I come from a huge family and love my children, and my grandchildren, more than life itself.
My husband and I met over half a century ago, we have been together ever since and he is, and always has been, my very best friend.
I started my working life as a window dresser; Paige Stores, The Co-op, (UK) and later, Edgars Stores (South Africa). There is something slightly surreal about being in a shop window with nothing between you and the public but a sheet of glass. You can hear conversations quite clearly, yet the public seem unaware of your presence. A great place to people watch.
I love traveling, enjoy airports and train and coach travel. Even taking a bus ride pleases me. But, I HATE flying. I’m quite sure I will die in a plane crash!
I’d love to be in a film — just as an extra. I totally understand Alfred Hitchcock insisting that he got into a scene in each of his films. It’s like being immortalised.
I had a lengthy ‘challenges to accomplish’ bucket-list that I’ve steadily worked my way through. All I have left is; to have the rest of my novels published, and see at least one turned into a film; to learn to play golf to a reasonable standard; and to visit Australia.
The most exciting thing I ever did was to sit in a huge JCB and knock down a building. The earth moved!