(I do rather like this informal picture the talented Barnaby Aldrick took of me at a family wedding in Yorkshire, but yes, I am removing nail polish in it – one day I’ll find a more bookish one!)

Welcome to the lounge, a good place for holing up with a cup of tea. If you’ve tried this room first, you may be interested in the story behind the stories, so let me tell you a little about me… 

Born in Norfolk, bred in South East London, and a sojourner for a long time in the beautiful North, I now live in the old borough of Southwark: a great stamping ground for literary Londoners through the ages from Chaucer and Shakespeare to Robert Browning and Muriel Spark. I always wanted to be a writer but like many writers it took me a while to get up the courage to pursue that. For years my main occupation was research into literary communities (a subject I’m still passionate about). While most writers need a certain amount of solitude to write that doesn’t take away the need for creative community, and the friendships I formed at Durham then and in London now continue to enrich my life and thinking.

I made the rash/brave decision to go all-out as a writer a few years ago and so far it’s been the right one. I tried to make a living as a freelancer for a while but even with bits of temporary work to supplement my writing income, I wasn’t getting the time I craved for fiction. As of 2017, I’ve found a part-time job that allows me two or three days a week to write whatever I want. Not all writers are as fortunate as me in having this paid, protected time for their own creative writing (but don’t worry — if you really want to do it, you’ll find a way).

To date I’ve written some Science Fiction stories, a comic fantasy novel, and various other shorter and longer works in progress. Writing-wise, my interests range from SF/F and literary  to historical – especially medieval or early modern – fiction, children’s and comic fiction, and more recently I’ve been experimenting with writing for both theatre and screen. Mythic tales with modern twists and ‘time slip’ fiction are models I’ve been returning to a lot at present, but I love learning and exploring so who knows where I’ll be in a few years’ time?

If you’d like to keep a tab on my adventures, you can read my blog Art in the Attic, or you can follow me on Twitter — although I haven’t a clue where I’m going — as @hailmuse. I’ll post all news about recent bits of writing there or in the library.