As a young child growing up in the West Midlands, I was a voracious reader of adventure tales. Every bookshelf was filled with Enid Blyton books: Mallory Towers, St Clares, Famous Five, Secret Seven, etc. If she wrote it I made mum buy it and would hide away with my chocolates and crisps to read in peace. There were six children in my household and I was the only girl so peace was at a premium.
Just before my twelfth birthday my parents returned to Jamaica and it was initially quite a culture shock. At high school, many of the English Literature books were not written by English writers. The first one I remember reading was Jamaican author Jean DaCosta’s adventure tale Escape to Last Man’s Peak. I re-read it as an adult and I still adore it. Other books on the syllabus included Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart and Samuel Selvon’s A Brighter Sun. For the first time I realised that there were great stories from other cultures. I’d had to travel 4,600 miles to make that discovery.
My literary tastes nowadays are quite wide and varied. Authors on my bookshelf include Agatha Christie, Colin Dexter, Elizabeth Nunez, Kei Miller, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Alexander MacCall Smith. I no longer hide to read, though I still snack when I’m reading.
I used to practice as a commercial lawyer in London. There was rarely a time when I was not dreaming of a life away from contracts and clients. I guess my creative side was unleashed only when I moved back to Jamaica 4 years ago.
Never say never. About 6 years ago, I swore I would never go up in a glider and laughed at my work colleagues as they climbed into these two-seater engine-free aircraft in the middle of an airfield. Not me, I said, no way. Two hours later, I was soaring thousands of feet over the Essex countryside no longer laughing, but completely spellbound.
My idea of a perfect Jamaican breakfast is a plate of ackee and saltfish with roast breadfruit and a large slice of avocado pear. In England, it has to be bacon and eggs and hot buttered toast.
My favourite tipple is apple cider. If you ask for it in any Montego Bay supermarket they will point you to the apple cider vinegar. I once found an imported English supermarket own-brand cider and tried it. It was not for me. Rum and Ting (grapefruit soda) is my chosen substitute and Jamaican rum is truly the business.
From my workspace I have a 180 degree view of the Caribbean sea. This does not help me work. I have turned my desk to face the wall, but I do occasionally glance over my shoulder, particularly when I’m nearing the end of a particular burst of creativity.
I love true crime TV and am addicted to shows like The First 48, Dateline, Murder Detectives, Forensic Files.
I prefer to be seen as a writer, rather than a particular genre writer and am not keen on being placed into any one category. I just enjoy writing and write all sorts of fiction for all ages.