What inspires me to write
The past. Especially – but not exclusively – Great Britain’s early to mid-twentieth century past. It might be a small WSPU button proclaiming ‘Deeds Not Words’; listening to my father-in-law’s compelling tales of being hit by German mines and shipwrecked whilst manning British merchant navy convoys in the Atlantic during WW2; or standing in the long shadow of a dark and brooding pit head wheel at a now defunct colliery in Northumberland, that catches my imagination. When I dig a little deeper into the archives, it allows me to start to build a fictional world and people it with characters who face the conflicts inherent in that period but whose themes are still relevant today.
Where I Live Now
I live near the North Devon coast, where long walks and bracing West Country air give me space and thinking time. Around me swirl the ghosts of King Arthur at Tintagel, Lorna Doone on Exmoor and the denizens of Daphne du Maurier’s ‘Jamaica Inn’ on Bodmin Moor.
Where I Lived Then
I grew up north of the River Tyne but then I heard the siren call of London and left, never to live in the North East again. As a child, I had little interest in dolls – I preferred climbing trees and catching water boatmen in a jam jar; my best ever toys were a go-kart and a scalextric. My grandmother’s home cooking fed my body but books nourished my soul. All my meagre pocket money went on 3/6 paperbacks from T&G Allen in North Shields. My love of reading gradually morphed into a desire to write.
- Famous people’s houses – but only if they were born before 1900
- Choco Leibniz biscuits with a three shot cappuccino
- A glass (or two) of chilled white wine
- Period drama
But not necessarily in that order.