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As a child I had three dreams for when I grew up: to be a mother, a school-teacher and an author. It’s taken a while but all three dreams have now come true, along with several others along the way.
I live in Berkshire at the moment, but I spent most of my adult life in beautiful Dorset, near Weymouth. I have three sons and a foster daughter – all grown up – and I’m immensely proud of them. As a single mother struggling to make ends meet, I did all sorts of jobs from cleaning people's houses and waitressing to selling insurance and conservatories. Then I studied for my PGCE and spent many happy years teaching in a primary school and a Special School. I loved teaching, hard work though it is, and have a treasure-chest of memories. The hundreds of children who passed through my classes must by now all be adults – that’s a very strange thought as for me, they’re forever fixed at age 8 or whatever!
It wasn’t till my forties, after my mother died, that my life took an unexpected twist. I had a strange encounter with a golden hare in some woods near my house, and this had a profound effect on me. I started researching folk-lore and reconnecting with the natural world, and then a couple of years later I walked a magical labyrinth in Devon. It was October 31st, 2003, and after what happened in that labyrinth my life would never be the same again ...
My aunt, who’d always hoped that one day I'd be a writer, was very old and in her final days. I visited her to say goodbye, and told her that I’d just started writing a book which I'd dedicate to her memory. She said she'd be watching over me and breathing down my neck, so I'd better get on with it! Stonewylde was born, written whilst I was still teaching, and from what was originally only to be one story, a whole series emerged.
Despite the help of a fantastic agent, Stonewylde was rejected by 13 publishers. So I borrowed money from my step-father and self-published the first book. I'd met a lovely man who helped me to do this - the formatting and technical stuff is complicated - and we fell in love. I’d been single for many years and this was a huge life-change for me. We’re now very happily married, and of course it’s because of him that I’ve moved away from Dorset.
Mr B and I spent the next five years travelling all over the place promoting Stonewylde, and through our company Moongazy Publishing, published the first three books in the series. I learned how to market my books and myself, how to give talks to audiences from 10 to 200 people (which comes pretty high on my list of the most scary things to do) and how to persuade bookshops to stock my books. Mr B set up first my website, then my newsletter, and then a lovely community forum. This has grown from strength to strength and has been a huge source of pleasure and friendship for me and many of the members. Over the years, Stonewylde has developed a large fan-base of really loyal, passionate readers who've been a great inspiration to me and have given me the confidence to continue believing in my dream.
At the end of 2009 I decided to have another go at finding a major publisher for Stonewylde as I was so busy with the marketing and PR that there was no time for writing. I found a fabulous new agent who very quickly sold the worldwide rights to Stonewylde, for a significant sum, to Orion Books! It seems that the world was at last ready for Stonewylde. I now work with my editor at Gollancz, an imprint of Orion, and am busily writing again. The books have been revised and given new covers and the summer of 2011 really will be the summer of Stonewylde - four books published in four months.
Stonewylde has changed my life irrevocably. I’m now a full time writer, happily married after being single for many years, and I’ve met some incredibly interesting and lovely people. I’m working on the fifth and final book in the series and have a lot of ideas bubbling away for future books too. I follow my own spiritual path, observing the changing seasons and the moon phases. I love walking in the woods or on a high hill somewhere, in touch with nature and using all my senses to be in harmony with the earth.
I enjoy reading and researching, travelling, visiting historical places and sacred sites, being with my wonderful, huge family, gardening, photography and walking. I especially love hares, cats, owls and crows. There are loads of hobbies I've dabbled in and would like to do more of, such as stone-carving, stained glass, felt-making and other craft things. However I'm not really a busy, efficient sort of person at all - I'm far too day-dreamy and slothful!
I love that saying by Mary Oliver – “What will you do with your one wild and precious life?”. I try to live my precious life mindfully, and I appreciate every day and every blessing.