I was born in the 1960s in Tassie Street in Glasgow’s South Side. The majority of my life’s dramatic incidents happened before I was one year old. Despite being a chubby and robust wean, I was lucky to survive my infancy, particularly on the day my pram was hit by a bus in Shawlands Cross.
That’s me on the right…
I think my suspicious scowl’s entirely justified.
After my babyhood brushes with disaster, the rest of my childhood was relatively uneventful. I was an avid reader of Enid Blyton and ‘The Secret Island’ is still one of my all time favourite books. When I was eight I contracted hepatitis and was quite poorly (and hideously yellow), but the upside was that I was allowed to lie in bed all day and read.
Although I was a real bookworm, I also loved playing outside with my pals in the woods, pretending to be George from the Famous Five, lighting fires, swinging from rope swings and building dens.
When I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always replied, “I’m going to be a writer.” I began writing stories when I was about nine, on lined paper cut very small, in tiny print with miniature illustrations in coloured ink. Later, when I was a teenager, I went through a poetry writing phase, and even won a poetry competition run by my local library, although I suspect I may have been the only entrant.
But then real life got in the way and I put the writing dream aside, went to Glasgow University to study Medieval History and English Literature and then accepted a job with the Civil Service. To my great dismay, I wasn’t placed in the Foreign Office, but in the Inland Revenue. I think I may have their worst ever employee, as I don’t particularly enjoy face to face confrontation and that is pretty much what the job of PAYE auditor entails. Eight long years later, I handed in my notice, before skipping joyfully back to college to do teacher training.
For more than twenty happy years I have been teaching at Kilbarchan Primary School. Teaching five and six year olds to read is a wonderfully satisfying job for someone who believes that reading is one of life’s great joys.
I live in the small village of Uplawmoor with my fantastically supportive partner Ian and my teenage daughter, Emily. My other three children, Sally, David and Matt, are living independent, grown up lives. Sal is a doctor in Glasgow, David’s a web developer in Edinburgh and Matt is currently at drama school in London. My kids’ childhoods whizzed by much too fast, but they are becoming amazing adults and I am very proud to be their Mum.
In January 2014 I finally began writing stories for children. I was a prize winner in the competition run by Mumsnet/Walker Books and my story Up in the Trees is Not For Me! was published in the Mumsnet Book of Animal Stories in October 2014. In August of the same year, my first children’ novel The Mixed-Up Summer of Lily McLean won the Kelpies Prize and was published by Floris Books in April 2015. The sequel, The Awkward Autumn of Lily McLean, was published in March 2017. I have also written a historical novel for children called A Pattern of Secrets and Cranachan Books will publish that in April next year. At the moment I’m working on both the next Lily book, The …….Winter of Lily McLean, and on a children’s fantasy novel called The Unicorn Thieves.
Realising my childhood dream is very thrilling, even if it has taken me an inordinately long time to get round to it!