The writer and her writing

I grew up in North Devon, England, spending each summer either on the beach or wandering around Cornwall and Exmoor. Like most of my family I’m an outdoors sort of person; I can get very edgy if bad weather keeps me in all day.

Before settling down to be a full-time writer, I spent many years as a teacher in international senior schools in Europe. This brought me into contact with some splendid people from all over the world. It also heightened my awareness of how young people, and not so young people, have to adapt to new environments: how one almost has to develop a new persona to be successful in a culture very different to where your parents were born and raised.

Apart from fiction I have also written a number of school text books for Oxford University Press. These days, however, I am focused on historical crime fiction and an active member of the British Crime Writers Association.

The great thing about writing fiction is that you can literally make things happen, as long as events and their repercussions remain within the realms of possibility. Setting a story in a specific epoch, however, means it has to be as historically accurate as possible. Fortunately, I enjoy doing research, and constantly get side-tracked by fascinating details. Truth is stranger than fiction they say: I often think if I wrote that, no one would believe it.

This house, Crimphele (pronounced Crimp/heel), where Davina (in The Empress Emerald) and Alina (in The Chosen Man) live, is based on the lovely Tudor mansion, Cotehele, a National Trust property on the River Tamar not far from Callington. The story of what happens to Alina is, in some respects, Davina’s story in reverse. The rogue Ludo in The Chosen Man is also an ancestor of Leo Kazan, the main character in The Empress Emerald. I am particularly interested in how genetic inheritance informs our personalities and life choices; how aspects of appearance follow through or skip a generation, how, for example, a great-grandson can be the image of his great-grandfather and share his character traits.

Cornwall is also the setting for the Bob Robbins Home Front Mysteries – apart from the 2nd story, which takes place in my old home town of Bideford.

If you have a favourite character you would like to know more about something in any of my novels, do let me know.


My Amazon's Author Page