I first arrived in the North of England twenty-five years ago. It was a rather long journey from the Home Counties and then to Cambridge, as I journeyed via Chicago and Singapore over a period of four years. I honestly didn’t think I’d settle for long, but I did and I’m very fortunate to now live in one of the most beautiful spots in the country. I really can’t imagine living anywhere else.
I met my husband when I was very young – during my first weekend at university, in fact, and we married just after I completed my degree. His job took him abroad (hence living in Singapore and Chicago), and I spent my first few years of married life embracing motherhood, learning about good, foreign food and fresh ingredients, and dabbling occasionally in writing. It is while living in Singapore that the first seed of my debut novel, The Rain Tree developed. The crumbling buildings, and the modern highrises popping up almost overnight seemed to be a metaphor for the social diversity and change in Singapore. This led to a long search for a good story to epitomise the development of this country, and after extensive research – examining old photographs and documents, I eventually found an intriuging event set in the late 1940s to base my novel around, which of course was enhanced by my own experience of having lived there.
I have had various jobs in my time: shop assistant, school teacher, running my own holiday cottage business, hotel receptionist, I was even an Interior Designer for a short time, and I’m sure there have been others, too, but I must admit, that for all of that time I really wanted to be a writer. I can remember as a child writing short stories and turning them into little books and illustrating them before gluing the pages together with flour and water paste, or spending hours and hours writing stories when I should have been doing my homework. It is this need to write that led me to take a Masters Degree at Sheffield Hallam University in Writing and in completing my first novel.
Good food is essential to me, and I love to cook. I also enjoy travelling. If I can combine at least two of these three, then I’m happy, but discovering an interesting menu, or an amazing market in an exotic place is so much better! It doesn’t need to be fancy, just good quality, simple food. I have taken to growing my own vegetables in our garden – there’s nothing like a tomato warm and juicy straight from the greenhouse, shaking the soil off a crisp lettuce or peeling back a bean pod and nibbling on fresh, succulent beans.
I am lucky enough to live in the heart of the Peak District with my husband and a lovely dog. I have two grown-up daughters.
I am currently working on my second novel. It’s a dual narrative story, and having told myself that I wouldn’t write another story with an historical flavour, it seems to ended up with one!