Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I was born and grew up in Manchester, England. From as early as I can remember, I was pony mad .... and school holidays would find me waiting impatiently on the library steps for opening time ... on a quest for more pony books [long before the days of ebooks!] My overwhelming ambition was to own a horse but that had to be put on hold until I began my teaching career in 1965. Strange though it might seem.... it was my first horse who was entirely responsible for where I find myself today! My future husband took a shine to him at a local gymkhana ... he then spotted me... thought aha!... two for the price of one .... and proposed! Married life was spent on his family farm perched high on a hill on the outskirts of Hyde in Cheshire, with the most glorious sweeping views across the Cheshire plain, the city of Manchester and the hills of Derbyshire. It was whilst walking the dogs one day, through the fields and down along the valley that ran through the centre of the farm, that the story began..............
What's the story behind your latest book?
It tells the story of Cassie, who lived on the farm with her Mum, Dad and elder brother Nick . Just like myself, one of Cassie's walks led her down through the fields to her favourite spot ... a leafy hollow beside the stream, where she would while-away her time. One afternoon as she approached the stream , she was alarmed to see a wisp of smoke appear from behind a tree.... She peeped around the trunk and was in for the surprise of her life..... and a summer she would never forget!
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Following retirement from teaching in 1997 and our two children having flown the nest, my husband and I decided to make a move to another [equally windy!] hill farm up in Dumfriesshire, Scotland Retirement was however shortlived. In 2001 a group of local enthusiasts, embarked upon what was to prove an epic journey to create a community arts centre in our local town of Sanquhar. After enormous professional support [and many wrinkles and grey hairs later! ] we finally realised our ambition and the doors opened in Nov 2010. My time is now split between writing, painting and being part of a great team who run the Centre for the local community. I am content!
Are there more books about Cassie?
Yes, in addition to 'Jasper's Hollow' - which has just been named as a finalist in the Wishing Shelf Book Awards for 2013, a second story 'Jasper and the Lightning Tattoo' will be published by Smashwords around Eastertime 2014.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.