Welcome to my website.  I’m a novelist, dramatist and prize-winning short story writer.  My novel Sisterwives is published by Crocus Books and also available on Kindle.  My first radio drama The Cloistered Soul was broadcast by BBC Radio 4  as part of the ‘Original British Dramatists’ series.  You can read my prize-winning short story (winner of the Linen Press Shorts competition) here.

On this site you can find out more about me and the books I’ve written.  I’m a Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at Leeds Beckett University.  I also work freelance as a facilitator of writing workshops, an editor and mentor (I worked for three years for the leading consultancy Cornerstones).  It’s always a joy to visit reading groups so please get in touch if you’d like me to come along to yours and talk about the story behind Sisterwives.  I’ve devised a readers’ group guide to the novel, with a series of questions and discussion points.  It’s available on request, and I’m contactable via Twitter and by email. You can also like my page on Facebook to keep up with all my writing news.

My blog contains random musings on creativity, my writing life, Sisterwives and other things I’m working on just now.  I also publish regular posts in the Literary Sisters series, which showcases the work of a broad range of contemporary women writers.



There’s something special for me about winter: the stillness; the turning inward and time for reflection.  At the turn of the year I always try to reflect on the twelve months just gone and the ones still to come.

Image from www.photoree.com

Image from www.photoree.com

I’ve never really been big on goal-orientated new year’s resolutions.  But recently, inspired by Chris Brogan, I’ve started a ritual of choosing three all-encompassing words to guide me as the year turns and a new one begins.  The ideal is to pick words that are relevant to every area of one’s life, to use them as waymarkers on the journey of the year; as tools for reflecting and taking stock. [click to continue…]


Literary Sisters: interview with Deirdre Quiery

August 11, 2015

This week sees the publication of another exciting debut by an author with whom I’ve worked closely as mentor and structural editor.  It was a pleasure to work with Deirdre Quiery on Eden Burning.  Set in 1970s Belfast, it traces the story of two families riven by conflict and yet, in the end, brought to […]

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A comic, cross-cultural road trip: Tying Down the Lion by Joanna Campbell

June 9, 2015

Continental road trips – at least for a family like the Bishops, who live in a semi in Audette Gardens – are rare in 1967.  But Jacqueline’s mother, Birgit, is half-German and has long yearned to find her two lost sisters who live either side of the Berlin wall.  So her father, Roy, packs the […]

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Literary Sisters: interview with Joanna Campbell

April 30, 2015

Occasionally, as an editor, you come across a novel that really shines.  Joanna Campbell’s debut, Tying Down the Lion (published on 15 June by Brick Lane Publishing) is one such novel.  It came to me through Cornerstones (the consultancy for whom I freelance) and, from the very first page, the characters reeled me in.  I […]

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Literary Sisters: interview with Antonia Honeywell

February 17, 2015

I’ve interviewed several writers on this blog over the years, but today’s interview is particularly significant for me.  Antonia Honeywell and I met on the MA in Novel Writing course in Manchester over ten years ago.  We’ve remained friends and writing partners ever since.  We’ve kept each other going by being mutual cheerleaders, critique partners […]

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‘I Have a Dream….’

January 14, 2015

What do these words mean to you? 

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Is prewriting like pre-cooking?

January 9, 2015

Sometimes when we’re making dinner, we need to do some pre-cooking.  This  involves an element of preparation that has to happen before the dish can be assembled.  So how is prewriting like pre-cooking?  Here’s an excellent 15 minute podcast which looks at the process of prewriting.  There are some great ideas here about how to […]

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The prewriting toolkit: daydreaming

December 30, 2014

In our goal-driven culture, daydreaming often has negative connotations:  we might be accused of time wasting or of losing focus on the task in hand.  This negativity might also have its roots in the influence of Sigmund Freud, who believed that daydreamers were infantile and neurotic.  Yet writers often regard mind wandering as a valuable […]

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The prewriting toolkit: freewriting and looping

December 4, 2014

My previous post looked at prewriting, offering some definitions, exploring what it means for the creative process and posing the question as to whether or not it can be taught. In this first follow-up piece, I offer some practical prewriting exercises, tools that might help to generate new ideas and to unblock ones that are stuck. […]

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Prewriting: rehearsing, converting, transforming

November 28, 2014

I’m fascinated by the alchemy of the writing process, how the writer progresses from the glimmer of an initial idea to the coherence of a finished piece.  I’ve always considered myself to be a planner and list maker, qualities that inevitably help with the early stages of a project.  But it’s only in researching the […]

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