Friday, 3 April 2015

Mandy’s Lovely Blog Hop

My fellow writer and friend,  Liv Thomas tagged me in – My Lovely Blog Hop – to talk about some of the things that have shaped my life and writing.  It is a great way to discover new blogs too.

First memory

I have a few, but one that is most vivid is a holiday in Cornwall when I was four. We stayed in Looe, in a rickety old chalet on top of a cliff and my older brother Martin and I would run down a sandy path to play on the beach every day. When it was time for breakfast, Mum would wave a red towel from the window and we’d run back up. I thought that was very exciting. On the same holiday we walked around the harbour and saw sharks hanging on hooks by a fishing boat. There was a sign saying – Please do not touch the sharks as their skin is rough, or something like that anyway. I decided I’d test that theory and grazed my finger.  There was something about Cornwall that thrilled me even at the age of four and it stayed with me ever since. I live there now.


Like many people of my age I grew up with Enid Blyton. Not literally of course. She was much older than me and came from a different background. But I did read all her  Famous Five books and the Malory Towers ones. They were set in a boarding school for girls in Cornwall. Perhaps these books reinforced my love of Cornwall. My brother bought me a copy of The Lord of The Rings when I was thirteen and I devoured it. I was totally swept away in the adventure and derring-do. I can’t remember if I read The Hobbit first, I think I did, and later I tried The Silmarillion but was defeated a few chapters in. Perhaps I should try it again now I’m a bit older. As a young adult I read Stephen King and Dean Koontz. Koontz remains one of my favourite authors and he’s a lovely man too. He actually found the time to answer my letters when I wrote to tell him he’d inspired me to have a go at writing my own novel. This man has sold over 450 million books, but he still found the time to write to me in his own handwriting.  I treasure those letters.


I love the smell of a library and the little cardboard tickets. I know they don’t have little cardboard tickets nowadays, but when I was a kid they did. I always felt calm browsing the rows of books and saw it as a place to relax and take my time. When I was a student the library was a necessity really rather than a place of relaxation, as there always seemed to be a deadline to meet, and latterly I haven’t really used the library. I know. That is really bad and I must get it sorted. Libraries are treasure troves and must be protected.

What’s your passion?

Writing and walking by the sea on the cliff paths around the Cornish coast. I get lots of writing ideas when I’m by the ocean.


I left school at 16 and couldn’t wait to get out of there. I hated school mostly apart from the social side of things. I didn’t like being told what to do and when to do it – still don’t. The only subjects I liked were English and History. The teachers of those subjects were great, which of course made all the difference to my enjoyment of the lessons. I left school with a Grade 1 CSE in both of these subjects – the equivalent of a C at GCSE nowadays. The rest of my grades were pitiful. I wanted to be a hairdresser until I actually became one. Enough said about that the better. I then worked in a factory until I got married at the age of 18 and had my daughter aged 19. Life has a funny way of turning full circle though and by the time I was 30 I was back at school – this time as a teacher. It would take too long to explain how I came to do A’ levels, a degree and a PGCE, but I did and ended up teaching history for 17 years.


When I was eight I asked my parents if I could have a petite typewriter for Christmas. Once I got it I never looked back. I wrote poems, songs and short stories which I would read to friends and family. They said they enjoyed them ... I never stopped writing after that. All time I was teaching a little flame of hope flickered at the back of my mind that I would write on day. I never really believed I would be published though. It was still a massive achievement for me to have become a teacher, let alone a writer. I wrote my first novel in 2001 and I eventually had a novel published in 2012. I now have five novels published and a further four waiting in the wings.

I hope you enjoyed reading this blog hop as much as I did writing it, and now I pass the baton on to my friend and writer KellyFlorentia. She will post her blog on Wednesday 8th April.