Where are you from?
I was born in London, grew up in London and I still live in London now.
Did you go to university?
I went to Warwick University and studied Philosophy and Literature. I was the first person in my family to go to university. It felt like a big achievement to get a place at Warwick and I loved my time there.
What did you do after university?
I had no idea what I wanted to do when I left university so I decided to try as many different jobs as I could in the hope that I might find my dream job along the way. The only criteria I had was that I didn’t want to wear a suit. After 18 months of temping in various offices, a department store, a hospital and even a field, I got a job as a Receptionist in a Literary Agency. That was the day my luck finally changed.
What was it like working in a Literary Agency?
When I started on Reception, I couldn’t quite believe that I got to spend my day answering the phone to so many talented writers whose work I knew and admired. I was in complete awe of the fact that I worked in a lovely place with lovely people who cared about writers and writing just like me. I also read scripts and talked to writers about their stories every single day. I was so happy to have found a place where I could be myself (no suit!) and do a job with writers and writing that I valued. In time I made it from Receptionist to Agent’s Assistant and eventually to Agent with my own list of television screenwriters. I worked in the industry for 16 years and it was a fantastic job, but once I had children, I decided to make some changes in my working life so I could be at home with my family more.
When did you start writing?
I’ve always been writing something. Or at least I’ve always been trying to write something – a novel or a screenplay. It was only when I left agenting in 2012, and had more time to commit to my writing, that things really started to happen. That was when I had the idea for MY SECOND LIFE. And once I had the idea, I committed to writing every day, and for the first time ever, I actually finished a draft.
Did you always want to be a writer?
Yes. It just wasn’t until 2012 that I was brave enough to do anything about it.
Have you ever studied creative writing?
I attended the Writing for Children course at The Faber Academy and was supported and encouraged there to take my writing seriously. If I hadn’t done the course, I don’t think I would ever have really given the writing a go, so it was a real moment of change for me. I also met a wonderful group of people on the course. We have continued to meet for over ten years now. Our group has been, and still is, a valuable part of my writing life.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
It’s the same as lots of other writers have said before me… Read lots and write lots. And I would add to that, be curious. If you take the time to absorb the world around you and explore the things that spark your interest – people, places, things – ideas will follow. All writing starts with a random thought, a “what if?” However brief or unformed an initial idea might be, it doesn’t matter – you just need to capture it! And from there the exciting bit comes – finding and crafting your story.