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My Favourite Books
I am an avid reader. As a child I loved all the usual classics. I remember aged eleven getting a hardback copy of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens and spending all Christmas with my head in the book. Needless to say I still have that book. I was also horse mad as a child and loved all Ruby Ferguson’s horsey books - not that I had a horse! I remember a rainy caravan holiday curled up with Jill’s Gymkhana! It took me to a world where I could use my imagination and live vicariously through the main character. I was desperate to be Jill.
I first got hooked on crime novels as a teenager with Agatha Christie. For me she will always be the queen of crime. I have every Miss Marple and Poirot book she wrote - more than one copy in some instances as I love the old 1930’s covers. I also have some really nice hardback copies too. I have read and reread them over the years. Some are so old and battered the spines are falling apart but I can’t throw them away. I like all types of…
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When I was teaching I always knew what day it was. Now that I have given up teaching to write I find it more difficult on waking to work out whether it is a week day or a weekend; everyday is a writing day but every day is different. I have always been a lark – I like to be up early and make a start on my ‘to do’ list which I will have inevitably made the day before. I find I work better in the morning and begin to falter as the day progresses. The first thing I do in the morning is let Scout, my Patterdale Terrier, out into the garden while I get his breakfast. After my first coffee I check social media and perhaps post something to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, or all three. Then I check my emails. Prior to the book launch there were heaps of them all needing attention. I will usually reply straight away to the simple ones, while the others I add to my ‘to do’ list in order of urgency. After breakfast I take the doglet for his first walk. I am lucky to live in a pretty Yorkshire Dale…
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I Could be Dancing. I love to dance and when I was younger I would go to night clubs and dance two or three times a week. Now that I am a little, shall we say, more mature I still love to dance so I go to classes to get my fix. As a writer I spend a lot of time at my desk so it is imperative that I get up and move. I have Scout my Patterdale terrier to walk so that helps my step count but I am the sort of walker that likes to walk for a purpose; there usually has to be a coffee shop or a pub at the end of the walk to motivate me. I’ve never been a “gym bunny” and swimming bores the life out of me (unless it’s in a warm sea!). Dancing gets me moving and as it doesn’t feel like exercise it is never a chore. I first got into dancing by watching musicals. Fred Astaire was my hero. His partnership with Ginger Rogers was spectacular. I can’t remember how many times I have watched Top hat and Flying Down to Rio. I’m not saying Astaire was a good actor but he could certainly move. More recently …
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Brothels and Prostitutes. Brothels and prostitution feature in the opening of my new book Never the Twain. Men have used prostitutes since time began. There is even one mentioned in that very famous book The Bible! Prostitution has always been a way for women to support themselves when all other means of earning a living have been exhausted. Very few women would have chosen this path had another option been open to them. In Never the Twain identical twins April and May find themselves in the unenviable predicament of being sold into prostitution.
Never the Twain is set in 1890 a time when it is easy to forget that women had very few rights. Women were considered chattel and on marriage were passed from their father’s care to that of their husband. Women like April and May, the protagonists in Never the Twain, had nomale protectors and so had to make their own way in the world. April and May, through no fault of their own, are sold into prostitution so their actress mother can be rid of …
Where Do My Characters Come From?
I love people watching. I also love ear wigging! Put the two together and you can see how some, but not all of my characters are born. The rest I would say come from my imagination. Imaginations need feeding of course and that means I read and watch TV and films - a lot. I also daydream. I always carry a note book about with me. (Not just any old note book however they have to be just right.)
If I’m on a train, in a bar or a coffee shop, in the queue at the supermarket – anywhere really, and I hear a particularly good conversation I jot down any interesting tid bits I overhear. I have a terrible memory so I need to jot it down straight away otherwise by the time I get home its either gone out of my head or I’ve lost the gist of it. Sometimes I hear a phrase or a single word which sparks a thought. Sometimes it is the tone of the whole conversation. Often it is a funny colloquialism or a slang term pertinent to a particular part of the country. Always be …
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My Writing Partner. Every morning after his walk my writing partner Scout, gets into his bed ready for a hard day of listening to me read passages of texts to him. It’s a hard life. Writing Never the Twain took months of sitting at my computer and all through that time Scout was by my side. Scout is a rescue dog, a Patterdale terrier. I rescued him aged seven after he’d been picked up by the dog warden. He was kept at the RSPCA for the obligatory time but no one claimed him which was odd as he was house trained and very cute, I’m sure you will agree. At the time I had just given up teaching to run an Antiques and Collectables shop and to try my hand at writing novels. My lovely tabby cat Bertie, also a rescue, had just died from congenital liver failure and the cottage felt empty without an animal. Growing up my family had always had dogs so I was keen to have one of my own. As a full time teacher it wasn’t practical to have a dog; cats are much more independent and with the aid of a cat…