As a small child bedtime reading was delivered by my father who, depriving me of the gentle safety of Winnie the Pooh, the fantasy world of Peter Pan and the reassuring, moral tone of Noddy, launched me and my sister into the adventurous, bloodthirsty world of Ivanhoe, Kidnapped, Treasure Island, the Greek Heroes and (the only concession to children’s writing) Enid Blyton’s The Adventurous Four, a story of spies, danger and derring-do in wartime Britain. I never looked back!
My first novel at the age of ten about strange goings on in a Scottish castle where a Home Counties family stayed on holiday was, I freely admit, heavily influenced by Enid Blyton and Malcolm Saville.
At eleven I was reading a diverse mix of John Wyndham, Hugh Walters, Sergeanne Golon and Baroness Orczy.
By fifteen my favourite authors were Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky and (as a concession to my feminine side) Georgette Heyer.
My love of history is an influence in my preference for writing historical novels.
I am fascinated by the concept of a love that carries through despite years of separation, a theme found in both Sergeanne Golon’s and Diana Gabaldon’s novels and one I plan to explore in my seventeenth century trilogy.
I am aware that the world can be a harsh and dangerous place and life in the seventeenth century was brutal, short and unforgiving. Thriller writers such as Andy McNab and Chris Ryan open a window to a world where violence and brute force walk hand in hand with courage and fanaticism, all qualities that combusted in the English Civil war.
Ultimately, however, the novels I write are essentially the product of my own imagination and my writing style is one with a rhythm and expression of its own.