growingUpSilly stuff about when I was growing up

I grew up in a small village in West Yorkshire. I was a complete disaster at P.E. (oh the humiliation of having to wear those big navy knickers), never quite got to grips with Maths but I did love English - especially the making- up stories part.

I once apparently ate a slug covered in sand. I was very young at the time. YEEEUCHH! No wonder I'm a vegetarian now!

My bed was right in the middle of my bedroom like an island surrounded by space. Looking back, that was quite cool!

Jules has been my best friend for ever. we grew up giggling together and we still shriek with laughter whenever we get together, which is as often as possible. In our heads we're still teenagers (so it's a bit of a shock when we look in the mirror!).

wimbledon commonWhere I live now

I lived in Wimbledon for erm (coughs very loudly) ...lots of years! I fell in love, went to university in London and stayed. Wimbledon is
a fantastic place; there's the vast common which is fantastic for long walks and there's
the village which is full of great shops and places to meet friends for a coffee or a glass
of wine. And of course it is very easy to get right into the heart of London and I LOVE London. The view from Waterloo Bridge is
one of my favourite views in the world and always makes me smile.

But I realised a couple of years ago that I'm
a country girl at heart. I missed the fresh air, the green fields and dry stone walls of home. So I moved back! I now live in a cottage just outside the village of Ripponden and I'm surrounded by green fields and sheep! Out of my office window I can usually see Nelly and Cocoa, two fabulous donkeys, and if they can't inspire me to write there must be something wrong with me!

Every day I look at the view and think how lucky I am to live somewhere so beautiful!


tedTed is my second Old English Sheepdog. My first one was called BoBo. He lived until he was 15 so he was really very old. He was a real 'Mummy's Boy' and followed me about everywhere. He always slept under my desk while I was writing, I loved that. I was devastated when he died.Then we got Ted.

Ted is the most laid-back dog on the planet. He sometimes doesn't even get up when I've been out all day; he just raises his eyebrows as if to say "Oh, you're back are you?"

If Ted was human his favourite expression would be 'Whatever!'

Ted has hip dysplasia which means his hips are kind of dislocated all the time. He can't play with other dogs which makes me very sad but he just makes the best of everything and enjoys whatever he does.

workshopsMy writing day

The beauty of being an author is that every day is different. Whatever I'm doing, the first job of the day is to walk Ted. I must confess that if it's dark and cold outside I don't always leap out of bed with excitement, but once I'm outside I really do enjoy it. I look at my walking time as a way of getting ready for the day: planning what I'm going to write, or mentally running through workshops I might be taking. By the time I get back home I feel as though I'm prepared for anything!

Some days my writing flows and other days I struggle with ideas and the words just don't come at all. If I have a day like that sometimes the best thing is just to walk away and do something different – read, go to the gym or meet a friend for a coffee. Usually a complete change is what is needed to kick start the creative process again.

One of my favourite things is going into schools and libraries to take workshops. I just love meeting the people I write for and it gives me such a buzz. I'm always amazed by the ideas generated by the sessions and come away knowing that I absolutely have the best job in the world. Hopefully I will meet you one of these days!


Click here to see some of the writing children have sent me.

Ten things you didn't know about me!

  1. I would love to play drums in a band
  2. I can't ride a bike (I once nearly fell off an exercise bike in the gym!)
  3. The best sandwich I ever ate was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich at a small outdoor stall just off the Pacific Coast Highway in California
  4. I think horses are beautiful - but I'm quite frightened of them
  5. I can't climb up ladders. My legs just don't seem to work properly after about the third rung
  6. I enjoy walking in the rain
  7. I am very shy and dread walking into a room full of people I don't know
  8. The expression 'giddy kipper' always makes me laugh
  9. I hate having my photograph taken
  10. I wish I could sing