I grew up on a farm in West Dorset and qualified as a manufacturing engineer before fleeing to France in 1995 to escape machines and numbers. I studied French at Pau university but only became bilingual when I met my French partner, who taught me slang and rude words. We have two teenage daughters and live among the vines in Poitou-Charentes.
During my 24 years in France, I’ve written 5 novels, lots of non-fiction features and have had short stories published in literary magazines and placed in several competitions. These include a shortlisting in the Bath Short Story Award 2017: my story Big Bones was published in the anthology, which has some fabulous stories in it and can be bought from the BSSA website.
In my Playground of Words and Thoughts, I blog about life in France and local literary and cultural events, particularly those that concern English writers and readers. There are also some posts about my writing activities and my route to publication.
My debut novel, Tree Magic, was a runner-up in a first novel competition and was then published by the wonderful Impress Books in January 2017. Trees are awesome! We should talk about them more.
Tree Magic is a coming-of-age story for adults and teens, set in England and France, and has a tiny element of magic in it. I guess the magic in the title refers to the magic of trees rather than any Harry Potter kind of magic.
It’s the story of Rainbow, who is 13 at the beginning and 18 at the end. Rainbow discovers she has a unique gift for communicating with trees, which causes her all sorts of problems. She has a spiritual, hippie mother and a scientific stepfather, who are both too busy making music or arguing to spend time with her – until she causes a fatal accident. That’s when she has to decide what to do about her gift.
The ‘‘News‘ section of my playground contains news about my short stories, judging and workshops etc. Details about Tree Magic and my other novels can be found in the ‘‘Novels‘ tab and I’ve put some links to reviews in ‘Reviews‘.
My 2017 writing residency in the Pyrenees proved such a popular feature of my blog that I’ve given it a separate menu called (in a fit of creative originality) Writing Residency. I also did a 7-day blog sprint about my discovery of the Charente river, which you can read (in the right order) in Doorstep Cycling. Finally, I’ve added links to some of my ‘Short Stories.
If you’d like me to talk to your writing group / school / dog, give me a shout on my ‘Contact Me‘ page. I’m also happy (I am, I am, I am) to lead guest writing workshops and speak at writing events.
Now, back to the playground. Writing can be a lonely business. A playground is a good place to make friends and have some fun. If you’d like to play too, then come along and join me.