I began my writing career adapting Asterix books as weekly plays for my class, then evolved my tum-ti-tum ballad style with a moving epic about the death of Lord Mountbatten. Surviving years of morbid teenage love poetry, I forgot about writing for a bit and went to work in the City. Fifteen years later I saw sense, moved to the Highlands and wrote my first novel and some more poems.
Life, Death and Cellos was published with Farrago Books in January 2019. My editor Abbie Headon describes it much better than I can: “The opening novel [Life, Death and Cellos] finds the Stockwell Park Orchestra facing financial ruin after a guest conductor drops dead on stage, squashing and injuring their primary benefactor. In a tale marrying the insight of Sue Townsend with the farcical humour of John O’Farrell, a priceless cello is abducted, a conductor is stranded on the wrong side of the Atlantic, and Erin the cellist stumbles (eventually) on her true calling in life.
Bold as Brass is the second in my Stockwell Park Orchestra series, and will be published on 11 July 2019. You can pre-order here. When players in Stockwell Park Orchestra fear they may be out of touch with their local community, they invite children from two nearby schools along. Supercilious, rich Oakdean College pupils have never mixed with the rough Sunbridge Academy kids, and when things go missing and rumours spread, the situation threatens to turn ugly. And that’s before any parents – or a godfather who happens to be a famous composer – get involved. DCI Noel Osmar has to tread carefully. After all, he’s off duty. Can music heal social rifts? Who has been stealing and why? And will orchestra administrator Pearl have to go to Waitrose for some Duchy Original biscuits to keep the peace?
My first poetry collection, Don’t Ask, came out in February 2017 with Eyewear Publishing. Poems have been published individually in various places (including Poetry, Poetry Wales, Under the Radar and Mslexia) – info here. I won the 2014 Cardiff International Poetry Competition and was twice shortlisted in the Charles Causley poetry prize. I was Hampshire Poet Laureate 2016.
There’ll be new blog post every time I think of something interesting. They may not be entirely serious.
I have a couple of radio plays and a sitcom loitering in a drawer. I don’t practise the cello enough. Can sing a top C. Make a lot of cake. Have won the coveted Foyles’ Friday #bookgame on Twitter, twice. That’s probably all you need to know.
Image: Paul Clarke paulclarke.com