I was born in England in 1950 and grew up near London, went to boarding school in Worcestershire then on to the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art where I discovered I was unlikely to become a great painter. So I studied History and Theory of art at Sussex then went to live in Florence.
There I met the American painter Robert Schmid and started writing.
I have a PGCE from The Institute of Education at London University and a Masters in Creative Writing from SUNY Stony Brook.
I have lived variously in Los Angeles, London, Marrakesh and on Long Island.
We currently live in Manhattan and have two grown children.
When not reading and writing or taking photos of things, I enjoy playing with my grandchildren and gardening.
I teach creative writing workshops for children and adults and give talks to English teachers about ways to keep joy and excitement in their lessons in an increasingly regimented world.
Some details about my books
I always write about places where I have lived -or at least visited - and most of my books deal with things that actually happened - or I wish had happened.
The Three Graces (Soho Press 1989)
This book is set in England and Italy - Oxford and Florence to be more precise. It concerns the adventures and misadventures of two young women in the late 1960's - one overly romantic and determined to become an artist and the other merely seeking a family. When Quentin Bell read it, he said I had, 'a gift for nostalgia'. It's partly a comedy of manners and partly rather sad - like life itself. It's out of print but copies are availabe through Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
Ruth & Gisela
Is a story about my family and is mostly set in England in the home counties which I know very well. I travelled by train through Belgium and Germany to Poland when I was doing research for the book. Whenever I make these long train jouneys I get overwhelmed by emotion and think about all the people who crisscrossed Europe in the middle of the last century. The novel is based on documents and letters and my mother's recollection of things. Oh, and it does mention The Isle of Wight scene of the most wonderful summer fortnights.
Jane in Winter
Set in Essex in England where I grew up in the 1950's in a gameskeeper's cottage on the Thorndon Hall Estate. In those days the mansion lay in semi ruins and there were hidden ways through the woods. This book is partly a memoir of a wonderful childhood but also an adventure story -Jane has all the adventures I never did and always wished for. The book was written when we lived in Morocco which is a magical place in itself.
Jane and the Essex Serpent
When Sir Walter Tyrell was exiled from London after the death of King William Rufus in the New Forest he went to live at Heron Hall in Essex. This adventure concerns time travel, the evil Essex Serpent of ancient legend and a brave little girl who likes dogs.
New Roof in October
A book of poems.