I was born thirty five years ago in sleepy Portsmouth* in the UK and learnt to read in 1982 when the best books around were ‘Holiday at the Dew Drop Inn’, ‘Malory Towers’ and ‘I Capture the Castle’. After getting over my initial awe of the concept of puns, sitting in the kitchen sink and the contents of boarding school tuck boxes in the 1940s, I started writing my own books, which usually focused on the adventures of dogs or people with umbrellas.
I also grew up trying in vain to ‘help’ my long-suffering family, by melting plastic all over the oven,** breaking the loo by putting a brick in the cistern*** and tormenting my younger siblings because I was the oldest and so of course technically, I could.
At thirteen, I suffered a crisis of confidence: my fringe was too thick, I wore white-rimmed glasses, no one fancied me and – the worst – I had no idea whether I was a ‘grunger’ or a ‘raver’. So I wrote a ‘to do’ list. I found it the other day. It was quite a long list, including these sparklers:
- Decide what I want to be when I grow up
- Be more natural around boys
- Buy green tartan ribbon to make laces for my Doc Martens
Although it definitely made me sort out the ribbon, to be honest I have still to tick the first two items off that list.
In the last twelve years, I have had a few more career changes than is possibly healthy but they have always been deeply rooted in English – Literature and language, with long forays into secondary school teaching, publishing and publicity.
So, to all the teenagers and not-teenagers-any-more who don’t know what they want to be when they grow up, I hope my musings, books and – for the other writers amongst you – proofing services might at least reduce the number of items on any lists you might have kicking about.