From early childhood a poem, executed by my own hand was a compulsory requirement for my father’s birthday. To the reluctant five year old this was considered a trial, but by the age of seven writing poetry had become my passion. At ten I won my first national poetry competition and from this moment I wanted to be a writer.
Poems advanced to adventure stories, cataloguing the treacherous, daring and totally unrealistic exploits of my friends. On reaching adolescence, these stories changed to romances, with my heroines falling in and out of love continuously, and more often than not dying with a spear propelled through their bosom, often by their own hand.
On leaving school, encouraged by my mother who was a barrister, I started a law degree, turning down a place to read English Literature and drama at Bristol University — a disastrous decision. Fortunately the disaster was averted when at just 18, I fell in love and then married a young solicitor. Three months later when those unwanted pounds had fallen away, I was scouted to become a model. Babies quickly followed, I continued modeling until one morning I awoke and knew this period of my life was over and that my writing must continue. Sadly it did not, because with three children demanding my time, a husband, dogs and horses, and a new career in interior design, the best I could manage were stories told at night to small and eager ears. ‘Freddie the Fox’, ‘Angelica the not so Angelic Angel’, ‘Polonious the Parrot’; night after night these different characters emerged from my imagination to tell of a new adventure; one day if I am lucky enough, these much-loved individuals may emerge again.
When my marriage fell apart, I believed my dream of being a writer had gone forever, but when I moved with my second husband, three children and four step children to Burnt Norton fifteen years ago, and I happened upon the empty pools made famous by TS Eliot in the first of his Four Quartets, I realized it had only just begun.
It was living in this extraordinary house amongst the ghosts of the past and the children of the present that my first novel was born. How could I, living at Burnt Norton, walking the gardens every day, in every season not be affected? In winter when the grass froze in tall spikes around the empty pools, and the concrete sides were glazed with an icy sheen, I would stop in my tracks and watch as the dogs dived down the slippery, empty sides. They seemed oblivious to the cold and to the shadows of the past, but I was not, and it was on one of these occasions that my novel about the life and death of William Keyt the owner of Norton in the 18th Century was born. Someone needed to tell his story, to get into the mind of an eighteenth century aristocrat, who threw away his aspirations, his dreams and his life on a whim, and I hope that my efforts will please you.
The paperback of ‘Burnt Norton’ came out yesterday the 1st of April, and I have just started editing my second novel ‘A Partisan Affair.’. This is set in England and Italy during the turbulent period leading up to and throughout the Second World War. It is about a family separated and divided by circumstance and war.