Welcome to my Website
I write teacher resources for primary school, and children's illustrated fiction and non-fiction.
My employment background has been largely within primary education, where I was a teacher from 1988. I became a full-time freelance writer in 2002, after the birth of my third child.
I started my writing career, writing short stories for the national women's magazines and feature articles for county magazines. I had quite a bit of success doing this and learnt a lot. One of the most important lessons I learnt was before you write anything you should do your market research.
When writing for the magazine market it is so important you know who your audience is and what they want. My advice is to anyone who wants to get published, whether it is in writing for children, adults, your agent, or a specific editor - do your market research. Know who you are writing for. I followed this advice and now I write a regular column for Writers' Forum magazine on top author's researching tips. See www.writers-forum.com
As mentioned, I spent many years teaching full time and although I loved working with the children, the adults got on my nerves a bit. This says a lot about me. I hated all the bureaucracy. This is why I prefer to stay at home and write, under the pretence I am looking after my own children. Apart from writing and reading, I also enjoy scenic walks, camping in our VW campervan, photography, singing at the top of my voice in the car, knitting and spending time with my friends and family.
But, I do snatch every minute I can to write and I do write something everyday, although I've no idea how many words I write on a daily basis. Sometimes I spend the day editing a piece and other days I write something new. Sometimes, I spend the whole day engrossed in research, which I love. Everyday, my children yell at me to get off the computer and moan they don't want to wait hours for dinner, because I'd nipped upstairs for something and accidentally sat down at my PC and started typing. I’m obsessed.
Often, I use writing as an excuse for procrastination, writing something else because I'm avoiding another job I'm supposed to be doing. This may be consciously or sub-consciously. Usually the jobs I'm avoiding are the housework.
I work best to deadlines, as it helps me organise my time. I write copious lists that span five sides of A4, in priority order and work through them. Usually, the lists break down a big job into smaller segments. One side of A4 may be only one project. I flit about a bit with my projects and that is why I need a list. I tend to be ultra organised. In 2007, I simultaneously interviewed all 33 speakers for the 2008 SCBWI Bologna Biennial Conference by email. I could not have kept track of all the correspondence to produce each final interview without being efficiently organised.
When I get into a piece of writing, it is hard to drag me away. I can't think of anything else my mind is away on an adventure with my characters, whether it's a children’s story or a short story for a woman’s magazine, or creating photocopiable worksheets for use in the classroom. I don't live in the real world, I live in my imagination. This is when I am in my element. People talk to me and I can’t really hear what they are saying. This is when my kids get away with murder and literally start killing each other. I’m usually bought back to reality by their screaming.
As you can see, I do not have a set writing routine. I wake up, make the kids their packed lunches, drop them off at school, come home turn on the computer, spend ages checking my mail and updating websites and my blog, and before I know it, it is time to pick up my children and make the dinner.
My day is more interesting when I’m out and about interviewing people for articles for my local paper, Writers' Forum, The New Writer www.thenewwriter.com or British SCBWI's Word and Pictures, but not necessarily more fun. My educational resources I don’t consider work at all - it is much the same as when I was planning schemes of work when I was teaching and researching a topic to present to a class. I love writing!
What more can I say?
I am a member of the Society of Authors www.societyofauthors.org, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) www.britishscbwi.org, the Network for Information Book Writers and Editors (NIBWEB) www.nibweb.co.uk, the National Association of Writers in Education (NAWE) www.nawe.co.uk and the History Association (HA) www.history.org.uk. I also write book reviews for Write Away www.writeaway.org.uk and the online magazine for teachers and librarians, Armadillo http://sites.google.com/site/armadillomagazine.