Smiley-happy! This photo was taken at my sister's wedding.
I went dressed in my Slytherin robes.
Yes. That's right.
A more recent, if moody picture.
This is probably the face I use when my pupils are misbehaving...
Showing off my Wishing Shelf Book Awards medal, along with The Backwater.
So many books on the shelf behind me. Could this be why there are seven authors in our immediate family?
Where are you from?
This is a question I always get asked! My accent doesn’t give much away so – everywhere I’ve lived – people have guessed that I’m either “southern” or “posh”, neither of which I think are particularly true! Apparently, I sound like the queen when I’m on the phone!
I’m actually from Orkney originally. My first memories are of living in a beautiful house at the edge of the world, near to Mull Head. We moved down to Lincolnshire when I was five, so most of my schooling was undertaken in England then, when I was 18, I moved back to Orkney.
Now my family and I live in Wick, Caithness.
What do you do as well as writing?
I’m a primary teacher! I finished my probationary year in 2019/20, working at a large town school. In August 2020, I’ll be starting my next adventure: teaching at a very small rural school, with less than 40 pupils on the whole school roll. I was always a country schools child, so my heart is very much in those smaller schools.
As well as teaching, I love all things creative. I enjoy making music and experimenting with various different instruments, although the ones I’ve had most success with have been singing, piano and trumpet. I do love the piccolo though…
Most of the things I most enjoy are the pursuits that I do with my family. Our Games Night on Tuesdays, and Film Night on Fridays are very important to us all.
What inspires you?
All sorts of things! Music is a biggie – we have an inspirational playlist and then individual playlists for various different stories. We also like to play the “which character is this most like” whenever a song comes on when we’re in the car!
I take a lot of inspiration from watching the people around me. I’m always chuffed when people compliment me on my characters but, to be honest, their most human traits are things that I’ve either done myself or seen others do.
What is your proudest writing achievement?
Probably being a Finalist in the Wishing Shelf Book Awards 2019. It was such a surprise when I saw my name listed. To know my first book (The Backwater) had brought so much enjoyment to the target audience was incredibly rewarding.
My beta reader asking for a sequel to Dance With Me was also pretty special!
Who are your favourite authors?
I’m very lucky to come from a family of authors, meaning that I’m often an alpha or beta reader for some amazing new stories.
Outside of my immediate circle, I love the work of Neil Gaiman, and Diana Wynne Jones’ Chrestomanci books. I read more Young Adult than Adult fiction, but I do love reading grown-up non-fiction, especially about Death and Burial Archaeology (yes, I know!) so love Betty Wilsher and Sarah Tarlow.
What is the most recent thing you’ve written?
I like to have lots of things on the go at the same time. This means there’s always something I’m inspired to write. At the moment, I’m working on the final book of my “Wizards” trilogy (the first book will be out in 2021) and a book about King Arthur. In non-fiction, I’m well on with a book about graveyards and I was short-listed in the Alpine Fellowship Academic Writing prize for an essay on wartime commemoration in my hometown.
I’m also planning to start serialising a kind-of-story on this website. It’s currently just called “A Tale of Three Brothers” and was originally a foray into screenwriting, which is something I have yet to master.
Are you available for author events?
In theory, yes! I am going down to part-time teaching this year so I can focus on author-y things. Just please bear in mind that I can’t shuffle my days around so I won't be able to do Mondays and Tuesdays during term time.
As a primary teacher, I’ve got a Full Disclosure and I’m happy to work with children, young people and adults.