About me FAQs

Childhood

I was born in Leicester and grew up in Southampton.  As a child I loved animals, especially ponies.  My friends and I used to ride the town corporation horses bareback in their field.  Although big, they were gentle and I never fell off.  When I was a child those horses pulled the dustcarts.

Here is a picture of two of the carthorses.  I took it with my Dad's old box camera.  The horses are standing in the shade under a huge cedar tree.  The tree has long since gone and a school stands in its place.


Now, when I walk by the school, I remember the cedar tree's sweeping branches casting their shade, it's exotic scent in the summer heat and the swishing tails of snoozing horses.

I once tried to ride a bullock and it bucked me off.  I didn't try again.  The bullock had made its point.  When I was eight I explored a hole in the road.   I climbed down, along and out at the far end, mountaineering myself up a sheer side.  My friend, Liz, pointed to my shin.  "Wow!" she said.  "You're going to have to have stitches in that."  I glanced down and saw a thin trickle of blood running from under my knee to my foot.  "I won't," I said.  "You will," she said.  Liz was right.  I looked down again and saw a gaping wound and the blood gushing.  Later my father found a flint split by a workman's pneumatic drill. The flint was so sharp that I had felt nothing.  It took fourteen stitches to sew me up.  I still have the scar.


I liked swimming, racing on my bike and going out in my uncle's boat.

But best of all I enjoyed riding ponies.  

Although very much an outdoor girl I did a lot of reading.  Enid Blyton's "Famous Five" and Arthur Ransome's "Swallows and Amazons" were my favourite books and I wanted to fly like Peter Pan. I climbed trees like a monkey and swung from the topmost branches.  It was the nearest I got to flying and I thought it almost as good.
Later on I loved being in school plays.  Here I am playing Oberon, King of the Fairies, in a Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare.  Oberon is furious with Queen Titania.  She is refusing to give him her little changeling boy.  Oberon does get the boy in the end but not before a story full of muddles and mistakes.  A Midsummer Night's Dream is one of my favourite plays.
 

  Afterwards on I went to The Central School of Speech and Drama where I trained as a drama and voice teacher.  Here are the students in my year.  Can you pick out which one is me?


  Once I had finished my training I was lucky enough to get a job in Leicester working with the Flying Phoenix Theatre in Education team.  We wrote, devised and acted in drama programmes that we took into schools all over the city.  We finished the year by writing a play called "Rubble and Dump" which we performed in the Phoenix Theatre.   The play was set in a rubbish dump where the villainous Garbage Gobbler wanted to gobble up the whole world.  My character, Sophie, who, along with her friend Tapey the Tape Recorder, defeated the Garbage Gobbler and saved the day.
 
One of the Garbage Gobbler's vile deeds was to soak Tapey's insides with water to make him seize up.  I'm oiling him to stop him going rusty.
 

  My next job was with the Ipswich Arts Theatre where, again, a team of us did all kinds of drama activities with local schools.  My friend Graeme Philips, he's on the left, wrote a play called Jago's Engines.  I played a character whose voice had been stolen.  I blew through a kazoo and the audience had to guess what I was saying.  Luckily, I got my voice back in the end.


  Working with the Playboard Puppet Theatre I learned how to be a puppeteer.  If you go to their website you can find out more about the company.
 
After that I worked on an A.T.V. series called Pipkins, also as a puppeteer.  It was around this time I decided to be a serious writer.  I wrote radio plays and school radio scripts at the same time as acting in many radio plays as well.  I played a lot of small boy parts which didn't matter on the radio as no one could see I was a girl. I played many female parts too.  Recently I voiced Georgie, the penguin, in the TV programme, "Five Minutes More".
 
It was around this time that I wrote a series for television called HEGGERTY HAGGERTY. After the series was broadcast, Scholastic Children's Books published eight picture books and my career as a children's fiction author began.
 
I have continued to write plays and script.  I have even written a children's opera libretto called "Kiran's Quest" which I also directed.  The wonderful Mark Lawrence wrote the music.
 
I have written scripts for the HOOBS, a pre-school television series for Channel 4 and have two series of books in print at present, one called Magic Pony and the other Silverlake Fairy School.
 
I live in Stroud, in Gloucestershire where I write in an attic room.  On a clear day, I can see the River Severn and the Forest of Dean.  I have given up climbing trees and riding horses but I have an electric bike instead.  I read as many books as I can and love to go walking.  I always carry a notebook and pen in my pocket in case I get a good idea.  I write everything down as I don't want to forget a single thing.

  When I was thirty-eight I finally got my own pony.  It was a long time to wait.
 
This is a picture of me riding her.  I called her Hotspot and modelled the pony Midnight Dancer on her.