1. I wrote Summer in the Scottish Highlands during lockdown. At the same time my day job working for an online retailer multiplied and I struggled to keep up so I spent every waking hour working or writing – and even ended up delivering my book late. When my daughter, Erren, was admitted into hospital with a mystery illness in December 2020 (which thankfully turned out to just be an acute form of glandular fever), I decided to change my life. I’m very fortunate that I was able to transition to being a full time writer in May of this year.
2. I once took part in a charity event raising money for the fire service and drove multiple large vehicles including a fire engine, refuse truck, tractor and HGV. I found it surprisingly easy to transfer my driving skills to these vehicles – it’s all pretty much the same but scaled up. I particularly loved driving the fire engine – but I’m very grateful I was only doing it for fun.
3. I like to try to push myself to do something new each year. I enjoy open water swimming but have to fight my fear of being out of my depth constantly. I have a luminous pink float which my brother (who does triathlons) brought me for my birthday which I hold onto whenever I get scared or overwhelmed. This year I have some swims planned with my brother and intend to do them without clinging to my float.
4. I learned how to salsa dance just before one of my big birthdays - but managed to put my hip out showing my skills on the dance floor a few nights after and had to go to a chiropractor. I still salsa, but now it’s mainly around the kitchen - I avoid the high heels and I’m usually wearing pyjamas.
5. As I was approaching a big birthday I decided to fulfil my life-long dream and get published. I used to write books when I was twelve, picked it up again in my teens and twenty’s but then got caught in work, kids and life in general so had stopped writing altogether. I started again (wrote multiple books) and I got a call from my editor at Bookouture on my birthday exactly ten years on offering me my first contract. It was the best birthday present I’ve ever had.
6. I did a Mindfulness course a couple of years ago and practise every day – it keeps the negative side of my very over-active imagination under control. Even five minutes a day can make a difference and it’s good for creativity.
7. I’m obsessed with charity shops and aside from underwear and pyjamas, 90% of my wardrobe has been discovered during a rummage. I’ve found all sorts of incredible things from a purple suede coat and Karen Millen dress to a White Stuff jumper. There’s definitely something fun about the challenge. My advice; browse regularly, be patient (bargains will turn up) and don’t give up. I’ve passed my obsession onto my daughter who doesn’t like going to regular clothes shops at all.