I tell fibs for a living. Okay, that was a fib, I’m a children’s story writer but isn’t that the same thing? I make things up! It’s great fun 😊
I was brought up in the beautiful North Yorkshire moors and daydreamed my way through my school years. Being the adventurous type, I made the dramatic 11 mile move to Teesside where I continue to daydream.
When did I first begin writing stories? Well I suppose I was speaking them before writing them. I used to make up bedtime stories for my little brother about a squirrel – I wish I could remember the squirrel’s name. Then I began Primary school, and much to my teachers’ dismay, I daydreamed right the way through it. I would look out the window and be mesmerised by the iridescence of the long grass changing from green to silvery-blue and before I knew it – I’d missed another day of education! I also had the ability to control my dreams so I was even making up stories when I was asleep. They usually consisted of me becoming a giant wasp and rescuing children from burning schools. Not sure what that says about my psyche at the time, but possibly I thought school was a place from which children needed to escape!
I was lucky enough to experience 70s parenting where they simply let you loose to roam. Additionally, primary schools didn’t give homework so my time was free to allow my imagination to develop how it wanted. I spent all my time either outside playing with friends or pets, or laid on my bed reading books. When my secondary school teacher finally managed to wean me off the endless stream of horse-based stories, I suddenly discovered Stephen King and James Herbert. This backfired when I wrote a very convincing short story in first person about a child who murdered her own mother. My teacher rang my mum in a panic but she just laughed and reassured him, “don’t worry, it’s just her imagination!”
My mum was elegant, beautiful and intelligent – I inherited her tiny bladder. This has resulted in so many hilarious compromising situations. Well usually more hilarious for my friends than me. My bare bottom must have appeared on motorway CCTV so many times over the years! I also gained my dislike of cooking from her – the difference being, she was begrudgingly brilliant at it, whereas the smoke alarm is the signal for my children that tea is ready to be endured. From Mum I also gained my love of books. She was always reading and always interested in what I was reading. Luckily for me, she was very calm and totally understood me – even if I didn’t understand myself.
My father is my biggest influence. I spent most of my childhood with him as we shared the same hobbies. He would take me to pony events, car rallies and shows and taught me how to swim. He also taught me everything I know about the animals and the countryside we grew up in which is a strong influence in the stories I like to write. He is also very, very funny (and rather eccentric, but don’t tell him I told you!) Dad has that wonderful ability to retell a tale in such a way that even the most mundane events can sound uproarious with his retelling. Childhood was full of adventures with Dad although we had to play them down to my mother. She would have been horrified at some of our escapades!
As a grown-up I rediscovered children’s books through my own children, my ‘borrowed’ children and my job as an English teacher then a librarian. I have so many stories floating around in my head, partly influenced by real events and mostly just completely made up that I’ve decided now is the time to write them. I really hope that the readers will enjoy them as much as I enjoy writing them.