I’ve loved writing and making up stories since I was old enough to hold a pen. Creating and acting out stories with cars, dolls, bricks, and siblings, along with avidly reading other people’s stories, were central to my childhood. From writing essays, poems and comic plays at school, I went onto university to tackle more extended essays, and then an MA thesis on the philosopher H A Hodges.
My writing career took off when I signed up to do a PhD in theology under Dr (now Prof) Ann Loades in Durham. This looked at theology and women’s work at a time when Christian Feminism was in its infancy in the UK, and led to my book A Woman’s Work. My style was to make connections between theology, sociology, psychology and history, using material from both academia and popular culture. I loved to reflect on different ideas, to listen to all sorts of views, and to make people think. With all my writing, I love to test out the ideas as a speaker and to engage with my readers.
I moved into writing fiction in the late 90s, initially as another way to explore key issues facing the Church of England at that time, such as women priests and sexual ethics. I really love the process of writing and plotting and allowing characters to develop.
In addition to my own writing, I do some editing and literary consultancy for other writers. I enjoy bringing clarity to books, and encouraging writers to have their say. Here, crime writer and creative writing tutor Judith Cranswick and I are discussing our latest novels.
‘Thank you so much for yesterday. You gave me far more than I was expecting – encouragement, ideas, advice, information and considerably more confidence.’ FB