I was bought up in a pub in a small market town called, Lutterworth. For as long as I can remember, my dream was to be an actress and a writer. The pub was a great place for an aspiring actress and writer to live, there were so many characters to study and accents to learn. I was offered Crossroads the first time around, but my mother wanted me to have a ‘proper’ job that I could fall back on if I had to, so I did a hairdressing apprenticeship. Eight years later, aged twenty-four, I gave up a successful salon and wig-hire business for a place at East 15 Drama College and a career as an actress, working in Repertory theatre, the West End, film and television.
In 1990 I gave up acting for love and ten years later love gave me up for someone half my age. However, by then I had taught myself to touch type, completed a two-year correspondence course with The Writer’s Bureau, and was writing articles and presenting radio.
In 2010, after living in London for thirty-six years, I moved back to Lutterworth. I swapped two window boxes and a mortgage for a garden and the freedom to write – and I love it.
Member of The Society of Authors, The Romantic Novelists Association and Equity.
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Asked which plays I liked and which playwrights had influenced me after I had auditioned for a place at E15 Drama College I said, without a second thought, Shelagh Delaney. I was lucky that, without realising it, Shelagh Delaney had connections with E15 through E15 director Maggie Bury who had worked for many years with Joan Littlewood at Stratford Theatre, London E15.
In 1958 at the age of nineteen, Shelagh Delaney wrote “A Taste of Honey”
Twenty years after Shelagh Delaney wrote A Taste Of Honey I used it as an audition speech. In those days we had to perform three audition speeches; a standard English, a Shakespeare and a working class. Most of Jo’s lines are short, so I had to be creative by putting them together. It worked for some directors but not others.
Another favourite audition speech of mine was Cyrenne in Rattle of A Simple Man by Charles Dyer. When I got too old to play Jo, Cyrenne became my working-class character. Happy Days.
I am now a writer. As well as articles and poems, I have written seven novels. They are all character driven as well as plot driven. The way I approached the characters I played as an actress in the theatre has greatly influenced the characters I write about in my novels.
It is a sad time. It has been for four months. Some wonderful people had died this year. And, with other loved ones ill, it’s hard to keep smiling.
Today I have been thinking of my lovely mum. What a wonderful, down to earth, genuine, generous woman she was.
This isn’t it, but it’s a start. The church is my church: St. Mary’s at Lutterworth, the tree is one that was blown down last year in the gales, and the woman in the photograph is my lovely mum.
I have now written those inimitable words, The End. I didn’t want to push my luck when I was getting close but now, tis done. My current novel is a stand-alone sequel to The 9:45 To Bletchley, Ena Dudley’s story and the fourth novel in my Dudley Sisters’ Saga. This novel is a spy thriller, working title Cold Case, set in the 1950s, early in the cold war. I hit 80k plus words while I was on retreat in Fishguard, adding 10k to that this week. I am now editing and expect to lose 5k words tightening and cutting what my mentor calls, ‘the guff.’ Off to do some editing right write now.
Ena Dudley’s wartime story.
Subscriber Spotlight. Page 48. “A Continuing Saga”
Writing Magazine featured my first novel, Foxden Acres, in 2012
CHASING GHOSTS – A STAND-ALONE SEQUEL TO CHINA BLUE
FOXDEN HOTEL – A STAND-ALONE SEQUEL TO FOXDEN ACRES
THE 9:45 TO BLETCHLEY
5.0 out of 5 stars “A thrilling adventure”
3 December 2018 Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
My favourite of the Dudley Sisters sagas was China Blue about the SOE operations during WWII and to my delight, this novel continues the story of Claire and Mitch in the years following. To say that it has a corker of a plot is an understatement. After having been on a trip to Canada for Mitch to receive treatment for what was then known as shell shock (now known as PTSD), Mitch disappears moments before they are due to leave for England. Claire suspects that Mitch has been having an affair with someone called Simone, whose name he has been calling out in his sleep so decides to try and find him, a trip which involves returning to France. What follows turns out to be a corker of a plot with a dramatic ending.