Although I love books more than handbags, I buy them large enough to carry my book-on-the-go, as well as notebooks. I jot down ideas wherever and whenever in the hope that, one day, my jumbles of words might produce a gem.
I’ve always written, but once our three children flew the nest, I began to take my pastime more seriously. 2008 was a good year. I won the Ip-Art Short Story prize, judged by Bloomsbury author, Alison MacLeod, and was runner-up and shortlisted several times in Writing Magazine competitions. It gave me confidence to write my first novel, “Tuscan Roots”. This has been taken by BOOKOUTURE, who signed me in 2018 for a two-book deal. TR , edited and revised, will become “The Tuscan Secret”, published 26th June 2019. A new Tuscan novel has been commissioned for 2020.
In Italy, where I am lucky to live and work six summer months of the year, I have plenty of inspiration and time to devote to writing. Maurice and I live in a converted stable near our restored watermill, which we let to holiday guests. The area is unspoilt and tranquil, but in the Second World War, partisans and SS were active in the hills. I speak fluent Italian, so was able to research this period and interview elderly Italian friends. Coupled with my own Italian mother-in-law’s experiences as a war bride, this helps me tremendously with my historical fiction.
The sequel, “Now and Then in Tuscany” was launched April 2017. It continues the story of the Starnucci family and weaves between present day and the early 1900s. The background to this family saga is the “transhumance” – the drovers’ annual trek from the freezing Apennines to better pastures along the Tuscan Maremma coast.
My new book, which was launched on December 1st 2018, has received great reviews. It is a completely different genre from my usual and all profits from sales are for Cancer Research. “Mavis and Dot” is a gently humorous tale of two ladies of “a certain age” who retire to the Sussex coast – not without mishap. The Sussex Arts magazine, Ingenu/e described it as “Absolutely Fabulous meets Last of the Summer Wine… a gently hilarious, feel-good book that will enchant and delight.”
I enjoy writing short stories too. I am published in The People’s Friend and have won the monthly PRIMA 800-word short story competition.
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