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About me

Although I've lived for most of my life in north London, I was born and grew up in South Wales. My mum read to me a great deal,and I think it was from her that I developed my love of language. I also enjoyed drawing and painting, and eventually won a scholarship to study at Dublin College of Art.

When I came back from Eire, I first worked as a teacher in a Rudolf Steiner school. Then I came to London and took a number of strange jobs, including reading aloud to a blind writer and typing out his manuscript. The typewriter I'd hired to do this had some paid-for time left, so I used it to write a short story which I sold to a women's magazine. It became the first of many, and the beginning of a successful career. While my children were growing up, I stopped writing, and started a small design business, making screen-printed puppet theatres, flying saucers and playhouses that looked like medieval battle tents.

Work took us to Paris, where we lived for two years, and where, incidentally, I first encountered the Romanian gipsy girl who features in my novel, FOR MARITSA WITH LOVE (Simon&Schuster).

My first children's book, THE TIME TREE (Walker Books) grew out of a story I told my daughter and her best friend to pass the time on a very long walk (the original idea came from a TV programme I'd watched about teaching children with hearing problems). The girls begged me to write it down so that they could read it for themselves - so I did.

TO SUMMON A SPIRIT (Walker Books), was one of the Pick of the Year titles listed in the Children's Book Award. I'm now published in the USA and Australia as well as the UK, and my work has been translated into Danish, German and Japanese.

Writers often get lonely because they work for so much of the time alone, so some of us have joined the Scattered Authors' Society (or "the alternative SAS"), where we can share problems, celebrate successes and occasionally meet for fun lunches. You can find out about other SAS authors, and also my illustrator, film and theatre friends through my links page.

Most of my books are for people of around four to fourteen plus, but I also write for adults. Click on the cover pictures to find out more about the stories, and even read a sample chapter.
Look at a list of all my books, which tells you a little bit about each one,
and do sneak a preview of exciting new stories in development. Like most authors I enjoy talking about writing, especially to children, so I sometimes do school visits, with readings and workshops.

My favourite colours are violet and yellow, and I love eating avocados. My favourite animals are cats,

but at present we don't have any, because our last two - a mother and her son - both died of old age.
My son has a very special cat - a big Maine Coon - more dog-size than cat-size, but very gentle (though he has been known to chase off a fox!). Here he is being supported to pose with me! Me with Jonah the Maine Coon

My daughter has a crazy small dog called Hattie who balances on her front paws when she pees!
And - I have three delightful grandchildren.