WHERE I LIVE...For over 30 years I've lived on the edge of a small village in the Yorkshire Dales which sadly now has no shop, no school and too many holiday homes empty most of the year. This old farmhouse came to me in a hairdresser's shop in the Midlands in the back pages of a newspaper I never read. It has rubble filled thick walls, a south aspect and has sheltered us in good times and bad. I have a "Plotting Shed" in the garden where I can write away from the temptations of computer and phone.
BEFORE I BECAME A FULL TIME WRITER... I trained as a teacher which led to running Adult Literacy Classes, Home Tutoring and Pupil support. In Yorkshire I began to do home catering which led to a Market stall ,running a cafe whilst training as a relate Counsellor. This led to working in GP surgeries, training courses in Stress Management. Not easy with four children and a husband running his own business.
I CONFESS... I'm not a hoarder but I do collect willow baskets from all over the world. They hang on the rafters but I use as many as I can. I find it hard to part with books but prune them each year. I love flowers f and have them in every room . I AM HOPELESS AT... Reading instructions, following recipes to the letter and all those brain games like Sudoku.
THE MOMENT I BECAME A Writer... I can't remember ever not being able to make stories up but it was only after I threw a novel down and uttered those fateful words "I can could do better than that!" I knew it would be a long apprenticeship so I invested in an Arvon Writing Course where tutors gave me encouragement. I entered a competition and was short listed and from that found an Agent who helped me sharpen it for publication.
WHAT INSPIRES ME...The landscape around me is grey limestone, bleak one minute, brilliant the next. Music, walking in green spaces and solitude are what I need.
I DRIVE... I've just changed my car from a trusty steed to a scarlet Diva who has so far challenged me. We are still getting to know each other and I'm not sure it will be a lasting relationship.
FAVOURITE COLOUR...I inherited the love of all shades of purple from my Highland Granny. I love amethysts, lilac blossom, Dame's Violet in all its hues and never tire of wearing it.
THE BOOK THAT CHANGED ME...So many to choose from but the one that changed my writing life was Julia Cameron's The Artists Way. Its exercises challenged my ideas and brought back confidence.
MR BEAU... came into my life eighteen months ago. He was a rescue dog being fostered next door and needed a home. We clicked but he is a Patterdale Staffie cross and hates cats. Our village has many feline distractions so he has to be walked on a lead just in case...
WHAT NEXT... Sometimes an idea for another story rises up towards the end of the current one or I get a flash of an idea when reading something in the paper but mostly I just wait to see what turns up. The Last Pearl was inspired by a gift of a necklace.