I live in Warwickshire, England with my husband and two boys – both at primary school.
I was a designer for over 20 years with a specialisation in Corporate Identity and Brand Development. I have six design awards and ran my own design business (Hijinx). After the birth of my second child, and the discovery that my husband had Leukemia, I gave up my career to concentrate on my family.
After years of writing little bits here and there, I signed up for Warwick Words Festival. I wrote a few things – prose, poetry, short stories – and got pleasant feedback. Pleasant was not what I needed. Leila Rasheed was the first person to give me honest feedback during a workshop in Birmingham – her constructive advice helped me enormously. A few weeks later my family and I moved to Darien, Connecticut for 10 weeks.
At the time I was developing a story set near water and, when at home in England, I had planned the narrative to be set in the Lake District. In Connecticut we rented a house with a private beach overlooking the Long Island Sound on Nearwater Lane – serendipity!
The writing I produced over that summer not only helped me build the foundations for my novel but also helped save my sanity. I knew no one in America and the isolation was unbearable at times. A few local people went out of their way to make me feel welcome and I’m so grateful for the warmth they gave.
On my return from America I found a Warwick University CLL (Centre For Life Long Learning) brochure among a huge pile of post (I designed the original CLL logo 15 years before). I signed up for writing and art courses. The art course helped me rediscover my brush skills – the writing course was more of a challenge! I knew if I was to be taken seriously as a writer, my grades would need to be very good – after all, what’s the point of being mediocre when the competition is so tough? I wanted honesty and I got it thanks to the efforts of John Costello. Over 3 terms we covered; Short Story; Writing for the Stage and Screenwriting.
Encouraged by my results, I enrolled for the novel writing course the following year, to progress my epic story by the water. We produced three full chapters and a synopsis. Again, thanks to the input and critiques from John Costello and Joseph D’Lacey (a published author with an enviable quote from Stephen King no less!). This type of honest appraisal is vital to the success of any story.
I got good grades but I need to produce writing of a higher quality if I’m to succeed in my goal to be published. I’m at the beginning of my journey. There is a lot to do. The story I intend to write will be told in three books. My writing needs to improve. I need focus. I need to write. I need to finish this book.
I would love to hear your comments. As I said, feedback is vital for any writer.
My Nerd Heaven – this site holds a lot of my research for the books.