How long have you been writing?
I started writing my own stories almost as soon as I could read, but as I got older, life got in the way, and by the time I was working in my first job, the writing tailed off. It was really only when my children were in full time schooling that I decided to start again. It’s definitely easier to write fiction when you are older and have more life experience to draw on.
Do you write non-fiction as well as novels?
Soon after my first child was born, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. At the time, there were no treatments for the disease, but after I discovered the research that had been done on diet and MS, I changed my diet and improved my health dramatically. I then wrote a book about the benefits of nutritional therapy (The Multiple Sclerosis Diet Book) and was lucky enough to find a publisher quite quickly. I have since written a lot of articles about nutrition and healthy eating.
What gave you the idea for the Eye Spy series?
One day the voice of Alex, my teen detective, just popped into my head, and I heard him describe his life with his Nan, a school dinner lady, and his eccentric inventor father. It was only later that I realised that he and his twin sister, Donna, were inspired by memories of a brother and sister I knew when I was a child. It wasn’t difficult to choose a setting for the series either – a small seaside town - as I live in a seaside town myself, so it was familiar territory to me.
What are your favourite hobbies?
I do a lot of cooking, but I am also passionate about family history. I am hoping to write a book about my mother’s ancestors, a lot of whom ran successful coaching inns. I’m also researching my husband’s family, who have a very different background in mining, socialism, and trade union activism.
What is it about writing that has given you the most enjoyment?
When I am writing, I can escape into an imaginary world, just as I did as a child when I read Enid Blyton, or the Narnia stories. Today’s children are under a lot more pressure than my generation were, trying to navigate their way through a much more complex and uncertain world, and if my books can provide them with some enjoyable escapism in difficult times, then I will have achieved my goal.