I’m originally from south-east London, although I’ve lived in a Cotswold village for nearly all my adult life. I’ve been writing stories ever since I started school, but it wasn’t until a few years ago on a significant birthday that I gave up the day job to be what I’d always wanted to be when I grew up: an author.
Having worked in journalism, PR and marketing, short-form writing was my comfort zone, so for a long time I thought of myself primarily as a writer of short stories, and I published three themed collections. Then on a writers’ retreat on Ithaca I realised I was perfectly capable of writing novels, and that became my ultimate ambition.
My first novel was inspired by a throwaway line by a Dutch friend, when I was telling him about the traditional horticultural show that takes place each year in my village. “It sounds like Midsomer Murders,” he said. “Do you have any murders in your show?” “We could start a new class for judging,” I replied. “Best Murder in Show.” And so the book’s title was born.
That became first in my growing series of Sophie Sayers Village Mysteries, the most recent of which is Springtime for Murder. I’m also about to launch Flat Chance, the first in my Staffroom at St Bride’s series, set in a girls’ boarding school. Then I’ll write the sixth Sophie Sayers novel, Murder Your Darlings, set at a writers’ retreat.
What will I bring to Oakwood? Huge enthusiasm for small local lit fests (I’ve been running one for five years in my home village of Hawkesbury Upton), and many years’ experience as an author, publisher, and speaker. As a voracious reader and co-presenter of BBC Radio Gloucestershire’s monthly Book Club, I’m always happy to talk about books! I’m also UK Ambassador for the Alliance of Independent Authors, so if you’d like to know more about writing and self-publishing books, come and have a chat with me.