About my writing
I write prose fiction, both short stories and novels. A preoccupation in my writing is to do with the liminal – with thresholds between past and present, between the immanent world and the transcendent. I am interested in the way the distant past continues to be present to us today, and in the spiritual presence of place. In the lives of my characters, I sometimes focus on dreams, insights and experiences that transcend the apparently mundane rhythms of life.
I grew up in an old house in Northumberland where the bookshelves were still full of Edwardian children’s books – The Adventures of Robin Hood, Grimms Tales, Andrew Lang’s Fairy Books, Philip Woodruff’s The Sword of Northumbria. The Convent I attended added a Catholic perspective with the Life of St Bernadette. I developed a love of stories and story-telling which continues to drive my writing.
Back now in Northumberland after many years of exile, I am currently working on the third novel of a north-east trilogy, published by Sacristy Press of Durham, about the inheritance of St Cuthbert and his Community. The time-frame of the trilogy stretches from the early Anglo-Saxon period of the seventh century, through the Viking raids and Danish occupation of the ninth century to the post-Conquest crisis of the eleventh and the harrying of the north. The story of the Community’s survival through times of extreme jeopardy is intensely dramatic and rich in extraordinary characters, but is mainly confined to old manuscripts and little-read academic treatises. I wanted to reimagine these stories for a contemporary audience as part of a shared Northumbrian heritage.