And now we are seven!
I was delighted to be invited to join Novel Points of View and not so delighted to be invited to choose three words to describe my creativity!
I think the first would, unfortunately, be “enforced”. I have been a working writer for over 32 years. I know that, because I started when I was pregnant with my third child, who is now 32. I wrote as a freelance, first for Which Computer and subsequently for its stable mates Business Matters, Small Business Matters and various other trade journals. I had always written, inspired by my favourite books as a child, such as Elizabeth Goudge’s Little White Horse, Monica Edwards’ Romney Marsh series (I write pieces for the Monica Edwards society’s magazine now) and Pamela Brown’s Blue Doors series, but never thought I could do it as a job. Instead, I became a model, an air stewardess, actor, disc jockey in a night club...you name it, I’ve done it. When I wrote the first of my Libby Sarjeant series it was the 20,000 words of a dissertation which prompted Accent Press’s Hazel Cushion to buy it. So I had to finish the b... sorry, the novel. Ever since, each book has become harder, so yes, sorry, “Enforced”.
The second word would be “comforting”. I write what I like to read, and none of it is alarming. I write about the Kentish countryside because that’s where I live – well, in a seaside town, actually - and it’s all very – yes – comforting, and feels like being enfolded in a familiar blanket. I also have murders. But the one thing my readers tell me is that when they pick up a new book it’s like meeting old friends. The books have evolved into different situations for a group of friends to explore, and naturally, because of my own background there’s theatre in there, too.
Which brings me to my third word, “theatrical”. I made my first professional appearance on the stage in a London “fringe” theatre, although we didn’t call them that, back in the Dark Ages. Since then, after having my children, I have done a lot of work for my local theatre, The Playhouse, Whitstable. I have become a bit of an expert on pantomime (I’ll bore anybody) and had a book commissioned back in the nineties on how to write one. It’s still in print in its third edition, believe it or not, with a foreword by Roy Hudd. I’ve written and had produced and published (they earn me my holiday money) seven pantomimes, and at the behest of the British Music Hall Society, one “Music Hall Musical”, which has now formed the basis of my new Edwardian series, The Alexandrians. I used to be the editor of the BMHS journal, “The Call Boy”, and had access to some of the greats before they popped off to the great Green Room in the sky.
Music plays a huge part in my life and always has. My father was half of a singing duo, I married a musician and produced four of them. I am extremely proud of them all, although none of us will ever have a great deal of money (especially the one who is a published poet. Poor soul.). I am now a widow (horrible word. Conjures up black lace veils), a grandmother (even worse) to two smalls and the slave to two cats. I am, in fact, what Central Casting would suggest as the perfect Lady Novelist/mad cat lady.
Thank you for having me.