When I was little, books covered the end of my bed like a wordy comfort blanket.
From Danny Champion of The World to Tales from Shakespeare, Mary Poppins to The Beano, my nose was always in a book. I was the sort of child who prepared for the arrival of a pet dragon and was convinced that pirates lurked in the brambles behind my grandparents’ house. I was always certain that something exciting was waiting for me, just around the corner. I knew this because this was what happened in books.
Later on I studied English and History, which was a brilliant excuse to read yet more stories.
Over the years my jobs were quite varied as I wasn’t sure what I wanted to be. They included being a secretary, a poodle groomer, a shop assistant, a puppeteer, an English tutor, a waitress, an illustrator and a primary school teaching assistant. I’ve been lucky to have lived in some interesting places, such as the seaside, busy cities and even on narrowboats. All the while I was painting pictures, as well as being a mother to two remarkable small humans. This kept me very busy for a long time.
Then one day I finally realised what it was that I was best at: stories.
I wanted to write proper books with beginnings, middles and ends. I wanted them to sit at the bottom of children’s beds to make them certain that something exciting was just around the corner. By then my imagination was full of seeds and, before you could say ‘dandelion and daisies’, they began to bloom all over the place.
These days I live in Devon on a little farm on the edge of a wood. It is the perfect place for a writer to live, buzzing with life and stories. Every morning I get followed around by an assortment of wonky animals; honking, clucking, barking and bleating for their breakfast. Then, once this is done and finally all is calm, I sit down – steaming cup of coffee on one side, snoozing dog on the other – and get down to the seriously fun business of wrangling words into the right order.
If you’d like to see where I work, here is a little film