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. Won a biggish poetry prize, was Hampshire Poet Laureate for a couple of years, then swerved into comic fiction.
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.
Here are my books:
Continental Riff is the third book in my Stockwell Park Orchestra series, and will be out on 14 January 2021. You can preorder it here.
When Stockwell Park Orchestra goes on tour to Europe, it proves a challenge for even the most efficient German logistical planner. A teenage stowaway, brass players falling in canals and a sabotaged timpani van are all in a day’s work for Ingrid Bauer of Note Perfect Tours, but even she can’t solve all the problems this week throws at her. Maybe a bit of surprise Bach can calm the muddy Brexit waters. She just has to fish out the musicians first.
A High-Choir Act is a short story set in the world of Stockwell Park Orchestra. It’s free to download.
Bold as Brass is the second in my Stockwell Park Orchestra series. You can buy it 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?
Life, Death and Cellos was published with Farrago Books in 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.
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.
Image: Paul Clarke paulclarke.com
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Read your good poem: Watching the Perseids in today’s E Poetry Foundation Poem of the Day.
Thinking about being, like you allude, one can run & hide, but never escape. One’s memory always exposes us maybe only to ourselves. And then death straddles life perhaps every day. But the line: the body can’t see straight is perhaps most thought provoking to me
for we see through prisms of what we know. As prisms bend the light, we follow the contours of our mind.