What do I write?
I enjoy writing psychological horror, the paranormal, and things that are not quite as they should be. I also enjoy writing action/adventure with strong female characters who do not conform to gender stereotypes. Some of my female characters are lesbians. My inspiration might be sparked by something I see in my travels, or a dream, or auditory hallucinations during meditation. Sometimes an opening line will spring fully formed to my mind and the characters take it from there.
I am most comfortable writing short stories and novellas rather than full-length novels. Perhaps it is because I have so many people speaking in my head the only way to get everything out is in a shorter format. Alternatively, I have commitment problems and can't focus on something longer than 25,000 words. Who knows?! All I know is I am the happiest writing shorter pieces and as long as other people want to read them I can't complain.
(Image credit: M. Ziolkowski)
What do I read?
My favourite fiction genres are horror, fantasy, action/adventure, crime, and historical fiction. I love to read novels by Stephen King, James Herbert, John Saul, Terry Brooks, Robert Jordan, David Gemmell, Clive Cussler, Michael Crichton, Patricia Cornwell, and Bernard Cornwell among others.
I am also an avid non-fiction reader and will devour anything to do with WWI and WWII (particularly covert operations), LGBT military history, forensics, diseases in antiquity, the history of medicine, disasters, true crime, geology, and archaeology.
(Image credit: M. Ziolkowski)
When did I begin writing?
I began writing when I was sixteen, soon after my mother died. I used it as a way of expressing myself and coping with grief. I found a battered folder with some yellowing onion-skin typing paper among my mother's belongings. It was a collection of short stories and poems she wrote when she was in her teens and I was struck by the notion that I must be genetically predisposed to write. I soon found out other people were interested in what I was writing and it grew from there.
At certain times in my life writing has been on the backburner, but there has always been something stewing away in my mind. In the late 1990s, I wrote quite a lot of Xena fan-fiction and had a small following. Since then my writing has improved greatly (I hope). I do sometimes have a peek at my old writing and cringe at the errors and cliches. Everyone has to start somewhere.
What are my qualifications and other interests?
I have a BA (Hons I) in Archaeology, a Diploma in Business Administration and I've done an Adult Education course in creative writing. This sounds like a mixed bag, but when I was twenty-six, I developed Rheumatoid Arthritis and it affected my mobility quite suddenly so I had to change what I did with my life. I still have an interest in archaeology but I no longer excavate.
I am a history fiend and enjoy researching things such as WWI and WWII, the Victorian era, lesbian history, female warriors, forensics, disasters, diseases (particularly evidence of disease in antiquity using skeletal remains), the paranormal, Near Death Experiences, reincarnation, and real crime.
I enjoy meditating and am thrilled when I get my brainwaves to the point of inducing an out of body experience. The sensation of leaping from my prone body to float upwards and then soar through infinity astounds me. I think I enjoy this so much because it offers a form of escape from my arthritic body.
What about my early life?
I was born in 1975 and spent the first five years of my life on a thousand acre farm at Coonabarabran, NSW, Australia. It was in the middle of nowhere and we had frogs living in the outside toilet. I went to Primary school in Sydney, where my mother worked for the Australian Opera Company in the chorus. I spent a lot of time hanging out in the Green Room of the Sydney Opera House. By the time Highschool came around, we moved over the Blue Mountains to a country town called Bathurst about three and a half hours west of Sydney. It was here that I started to write and received encouragement from my English teacher. I left home at seventeen to study archaeology at the University of Sydney.
Do I have any pets?
Yes. I am a Crazy Cat Lady. I always had animals growing up and I found I had a particular affinity with cats. Over the years I've had many rescue cats that have either turned up on my doorstep and never left, someone asked me to take one before going to the RSPCA, or I have picked them up from a shelter. I currently live with seven fur babies (you did read that right). They sometimes drive me mad, especially when I'm trying to write and one decides to lay across the keyboard, but I wouldn't have it any other way.
Where am I now and what am I doing?
I currently live in Sheffield, South Yorkshire in the UK. I moved over to England in 2001, it's a long story, but most of my family is over here. I also adore that I live opposite a massive cemetery and I have the beautiful Peak District pretty much on my doorstep.
My first collection of short psychological horror stories will be available before the end of 2018 and after that, I intend to work on an archaeological action/adventure novella series with a paranormal twist.