I grew up in Bexley, Kent in a Victorian detached house with a big garden.( My mother and grandmother ran it as a guest house, while my father worked in London’s West End as a commercial artist.) Being an only child for the first seven years, I spent a lot of time on my own, observing the people who boarded with us, using my imagination. I hated school and was always told off for day-dreaming. At secondary school, instead of listening to the teacher in registration, I filled my rough notebooks with comic-strip stories for my classmates to read. I wanted to do something creative when I left school so at sixteen I embarked on a hairdressing career in Bexleyheath. This wasn’t my first choice – I wanted to be a window dresser but after months of sending letters to various shops in the West End, my mother suggested I try the Co-op. A letter came back telling me they didn’t have any vacancies for an apprentice window dresser but they did have one for hairdressing. I had two interviews at their head office in Woolwich and started work on 20th April 1965.
After four years I left the salon where I trained and joined a French hairstylists’ in Dartford where I learned more modern styling. After eight months I left and took a job in St Paul’s Cray. Here, I was revered as their top stylist until I got married. The owner of the salon allowed us to rent the flat above until he kicked me out when I became pregnant. Homeless and out of a job, we moved in with my in-laws in Camberwell until my daughter was born. My husband’s grandmother had a council house in Nunhead where we rented the top floor for a pittance, allowing us to save up for a deposit on a house. I continued hairdressing part time in various salons in Peckham until we moved to Melbourn, Hertfordshire. In 1985 I took out a business loan, bought a car and started my own mobile hairdressing business.
I went through a divorce in 1987. ( My memoir NO ONE COMES CLOSE) During this time I kept a diary/journal which helped me to make sense of my situation. I remarried on my 40th birthday and had another daughter in 1990. This time I wanted to do things properly and became a stay-at-home mum. When my daughter started school, I did a few customers for pocket money and joined an art group which I thoroughly enjoyed.I also volunteered at the school, helping the year one children to read and taught the year six children Italic handwriting. This led me to become a paid member of staff as a Learning Support Assistant.
My husband and I retired in 2008 and we moved to Cornwall. Having given up work, I was twiddling my thumbs until I saw an advert for a 6 week creative writing course. This really appealed to me. Having kept a diary for most of my adult life, I felt the need to put all that writing to good use. The course opened up a whole new world for me. I joined writers groups and attended more courses and workshops and revelled in listening to other writer’s experiences. I wrote articles for ‘Evergreen’ and ‘This England’ magazines and was overjoyed to have them published. I also had two historical short stories published in Cornish anthologies. Encouraged by my success, I decided to complete my memoir that I started in 1997. I joined a very helpful critique group in Liskeard whose valuable input I shall never forget.
We moved again in 2015 to Norfolk, to be nearer to family. I polished my memoir, titled, ‘No One Comes Close’ and finally published it on 12th September 2017. I have eleven 5 star reviews on Amazon.
Following on from this success I published ‘Where There’s a Will’ in September 2018. This started life as the seed of an idea at one of the creative writing course evenings in 2008. I created Jess and wrote the first page of Where There’s A Will, although I didn’t know it at the time. I published it in September 2018, having made a New Year resolution to finish the novel a publish it. It comes as no surprise that Jess works in a hair salon and the novel is set in Peckham where I lived for twelve years in the 1970s. A bit of family history has crept in too, taking Jess to Yorkshire.
My latest addition is my mystery novel BAY OF SECRETS set in Cornwall, published in March 2020. This has a dash of the paranormal, a slice of romance and a sprinkling of nostalgia.
I hope you enjoy my work.