Who are you?
Hi! I'm a writer of YA novels based in Suffolk, UK.
What sort of books do you write?
Primarily YA thrillers with speculative twists. Fast-paced thrillers mixed with fantasy, sci-fi, dystopian and superhero elements!
How did you become a writer?
I have been a reader all my life from Enid Blyton, Jacqueline Wilson and the Harry Potter books when I was a child to the big YA boom books of the 2000's. Having always written stories, I set about writing my first novel (a YA fantasy) when I was 18. That took me four years to write around going to university to study commercial songwriting and moving back to Suffolk afterwards to set up a music tuition business. After that, I became serious about wanting to be an author and wrote four books over the next two years, the last of which got me my wonderful agent.
Who are some of your favourite authors?
Suzanne Collins, Brandon Sanderson, VE Schwab, PC Cast, Patrick Ness, Dorothy Parker, Jojo Moyes, Sophie McKenzie, Margaret Atwood, Elizabeth Chadwick, Andy Weir, Jane Austen, Stephen Chbosky, Stephen King... I could go on. As you can see, my tastes are very broad!
What are you working on right now?
My current project is a YA Urban Fantasy thriller about twins who have the ability to control birds.
What's your favourite part of the writing process?
I have always loved the editing stage. Writing the first draft can be great at the start, but for me, quickly becomes hard work. So, I like to get it done as quick as I can so I can begin turning it into something great in the structural and line edit stages.
Why do you write YA?
While there are several adult and middle grade authors I enjoy reading, YA has always been my favourite, possibly because there were so many YA books I fell in love with in high school. I love coming of age themes and intense emotions, conflict and hope despite adversity. I just love YA.
Who are you outside of writing?
Things I love include: Marvel (MCU and comics - fave superhero? Black Widow), films, dogs (every single one on the planet), tennis (Wimbledon is my fave time of year), travelling, space (I could probably recite every Brian Cox documentary ever), history, museums, pretty places with trees and plants and life, music, and, oh yeah, reading books...
Any tips for aspiring writers?
Keep going. If you love writing then keep churning out those stories, perfecting them and sending them out there. Find great critique partners who understand the audience you are trying to target, and don't stop querying a book until you've sent it to at least 80 agents. Also, if you're looking to hone your skills and find a community of other children's writers, check out WriteMentor's free summer mentoring programme. I was lucky to be chosen by the wonderful YA author Anna Mainwaring in 2020 and met so many wonderful people through it.