I was born in New South Wales, Australia in 1975, to an Australian mother and English father. The first years of my life were spent on a thousand acre farm in the middle of nowhere. When I was five, my family moved to Sydney, and then back out to the country town of Bathurst, NSW when I was nearly thirteen. After high school, I moved back to Sydney and achieved my BA (Hons I) in Archaeology.
I spent seven years as an archaeologist, both in Australia and overseas, but unfortunately developed Rheumatoid Arthritis so was unable to continue excavating. I had to change to a less physically demanding career. I ended up moving to the UK and worked my way through various administrative roles. I studied for a Diploma in Business Administration in 2011.
I'm a voracious reader and believe in order to be a good writer, you must read extensively, both fiction and non-fiction. My favourite genres and areas of interest are, horror, sci-fi, fantasy, medical thrillers, historical, ancient history, archaeology, geology, the Victorian Age, World War I and II, forensics, disasters, disease (particularly archaeopathology), the paranormal, Near Death Experiences, reincarnation, LGBT history, and real crime.
When did I begin writing? My mother died when I was in my mid-teens and I began writing poetry as a way of coping with her passing. At some point, I discovered an old folder of short stories and poetry written on yellowing, wafer thin typing paper. My mother's maiden name was on the inside cover. My maternal grandfather also wrote. I have copies of his extensive travel journals, handwritten in exercise books. I am convinced I am genetically predisposed to write.
For a while in my twenties, I wrote fan fiction. It wasn't terribly polished and I made all the usual mistakes, but every writer has to start somewhere. In an effort to improve my writing, I did a creative writing course at the University of Sheffield in 2007.
For the last ten years, I've been writing on and off when I've had the opportunity, mostly for my own pleasure. I started reading works by Indie authors and thought, why am I not doing this? I began to research the Indie market and quickly learned if I was going to make a decent go of it, I had to treat my writing as a business. I felt my background in business administration and previous experience in helping launch a successful business gave me the confidence to see it through.
In 2017, I decided not just to use my name to publish, but to create Drop Hammer Publishing. I live in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, otherwise known as The Steel City, and wanted something to champion my adopted home. I also like the idea of a drop hammer, a hulking piece of machinery used in the steel industry that takes red hot hunks of metal, and with swift downward blows, forges a nondescript lump into something useful. You can see one in action in this video on YouTube. I thought it a good analogy to writing. Writers take words, which individually mean little, but when forged into stories, become more than the sum of their parts.
What do I write? My writing often explores the darker themes in the horror, paranormal and sci-fi genres. I seem to be a rather morbid person, I have, afterall, dug up a few hundred human skeletons, even if they were several thousand years old. I have a tendency to write strong female characters, one of whom is often an underdog. My action/adventure Coleridge and De La Vega duo are in my head all the time. I do write some lesbian themed fiction, I don't think there is enough of it out there. I also enjoy writing fantasy, often dark fantasy. I discovered Terry Brooks, David Gemmell, and Robert Jordan when I was thirteen and was sold on the genre.
What are my other interests? These days I am somewhat limited regarding what I can do physically, but aside from writing, reading, and the ubiquitous day job, my main interest is meditation. This initially stemmed from a pain management course I did to develop coping mechanisms for the chronic pain associated with my Rheumatoid Arthritis. I found that I had visual and auditory hallucinations during my meditative states, and even out of body experiences (which are great, since I normally stagger about with crutches). Some of these experiences have inspired a story or two, such as The Night Voice. At the very least, they give me a different way of seeing things so I can avoid cliché.
I also enjoy drawing and graphic design. I learned technical drawing and planning while I was an archaeologist, and I've made great use of those skills in creating images and designs for my writing. If I have a large project, I will often use a graphics tablet and appropriate software to draft out ideas, maps, buildings, character sketches, costumes, objects and even a character's signature. These images build up over the life of the project and make great items for give aways, bonus material, and if I've produced enough of them, a companion book to offer free along side a novel or series. I'm currently in the process of developing a Bonus Pack for my Coleridge / De La Vega adventure series.
I am also a qualified Crazy Cat Lady. I don't need to expand on that...
My debut collection of short horror stories, The Passages of Melton Hall and other stories, is the first piece of work I've created specifically for publication rather than self interest. The main theme of the collection is the odd, almost seen, misunderstood, and other, is the true horror we face amid a world that desensitises us to horror on a daily basis.
The Passages of Melton Hall and other stories is currently in final development and will be available for purchase from March 2018.
I will also launch my novella sized archaeological adventure series with a paranormal twist starting mid 2018, with Alastor Spirit of Vengeance. This will be followed by Secret of the Snake Goddess later in the year.