I grew up in a family who weren't intellectual, but who were alert, interested, and deeply committed to issues of justice, honesty, and fairness in culture and public life. It was a churchgoing family, but 'religion' wasn't pushed, it functioned as a background. There was plenty of science as well: at a young age I was devouring fact books on life science, the universe, fossils, dinosaurs along with keeping the Christian festivals and reading the Bible. My grandfather, a sceptic, was a keen amateur astronomer.
Faith is nonetheless important to me, it is the ground of my being.
My birth family background has given me an aversion to extremes: don't 'love' or 'hate', seek understanding. Try to see enough into what you dislike, fear, disapprove of, that you can discuss it rationally, live alongside of it. Though I have to admit that I get angry like every other person: and yes, I have passionately held views, like in moderation and not going to extremes.
My interest in science and nature, thwarted by weakness in maths, has settled itself firstly in specialising in medical sociology. Before that being a Mum took me into pregnancy counselling and an interest in genetics and fertility research, and the impact of these on our changing society. It's an area which has given millions of couples - and now singles - the possibility of a child, of a healthy child, of children for single-sex couples.
I firmly believe in story as communication. You engage the reader fully with imagination, with being entertained, maybe with being beguiled by the arguments. Working inside one fictional extended family, I've explored through story the pain of division and the reconciliations and acceptances which may occur.
I also believe in respecting my characters. I may not 'agree with' their views, but that's not a reason to vilify, satirise, or use. This is probably why I do not write crime or murder novels, though that looks bit simplistic.
My own reading has ranged over many non-European writers such as Kamila Shamsie, Khalid Hosseini, and many less well-known writers from Islamic backgrounds including some prominent Egyptian feminists. But also our own Alexander McCall Smith, Joanna Trollope, Jojo Myers, and JRR Tolkien. This reflects my interest indifferent cultures, in how we all come to terms with changes within our cultures and between the generations, enjoyment of wry humour and of the depths and layers within story found the The Lord of the Rings.
I've been married to the same guy for 41 years and we have 3 adult children, including twins. We met on a Christian Union outreach campaign, and we're quite (over-)involved at our local Parish Church.
I write contemporary fiction. It is possibly of more appeal to women but I would not describe it as 'women's fiction'.
My novels are thoughtful and thought-provoking and centred around family life, and present-day culture, its issues, its change, and its diversity. The reader is invited by implication to open their mind to views they may not share, and to consider how reconciliation might come about between characters with different lifestyles and underlying moral/religious/secular attitudes. I have a special interest in the apparent science/religion split in today's culture.
I have written poetry and I do write non-fiction but so far have not published this. My poetry, when 'religious' is not devotional.
Specialist Interests Science/religion in the popular mind.
Fertility and consequences of IVF techniques for contemporary society.
Cultural change and the place of 'religions' and faith beliefs.
In my degree, I specialised in Inter-Testamental Judaism.
I am an (oil) painter as well as a writer.
Available for... Book signings (with Readings).
Church meetings/talks esp. women's - which would be about 'What I write and Why I do it' relating my writing to my faith and the purpose of story.
Location Oxford (City)
(I don't drive so villages etc aren't easy to access)
Books Planned Follow-up (3rd in series) to Baby, Baby and The Labyrinth Year - theme, What is Love? but no working title yet.
Possibly a non-fiction book based on some studies/meditations on Biblical subjects such as "1 Corinthians 13 - what is God's Love?". These are the results of investigations suggested by my Spiritual DIrector, and are fairly deep and thoughtful and slanted nearer to the academic than to the emotional.
Other Writing Published Over time I have contributed articles to various magazines/newspapers such as Third Way and the Church of England Newspaper - but this is quite a while ago
I wrote on Post-Natal depression, other family topics, and the visual arts and the Christian - all in the late 1980s and the 1990s.
The Labyrinth Year:
Amazon Customer Reviews The best review of The Labyrinth Year is the one by Griselda Heppel (Griselda won the Peoples' Book Prize Children's section in 2013 for Ante's Inferno) - Review by G. Heppel
There's more... I've produced and directed performance of a couple of musical plays, which were written by members of our church (St Margaret's Oxford) congregation (including myself, but I was not the major writer). These were:
Return to Eden (2001) written for the Millennium celebrations
The Legend of St Margaret of Antioch (2003, and 2005). The Legend of St Margaret exists on CD, and I have a copy: I have a copy of the Oxford Times review of one if not both.
Amazon Author Page