Hi, I’m Fiona, writer, mother, trouble-shooter, dog walker and the owner of a myriad of other job titles, some of which I didn’t volunteer for. I also have a habit of escaping into a book whenever possible, often Jane Austen, but generally anything happy that makes me smile. My taste in reading can be eclectic, however and I read many different books, from Thomas Hardy to contemporary fiction.
More years ago than I care to count, I studied a BA in Combined Arts at the University of Durham and then went on to take an MA in English at Oxford Brookes University. My MA Dissertation was quite radical at the time, ‘Jane Austen and The Masculine Image.’ Happy times indeed – I would love to go back to those carefree days.
I then worked in various jobs, publishing, marketing and later admin to fit round the children. Parenting four girls is incredibly rewarding, most of the time.
They are loyal, intelligent, hard working, talented and incredible personalities. I hope to bring them up as strong-minded, kind, independent young women to cope in this tough world. As they are getting older, it is like having a wonderful group of friends. Although they do borrow my clothes, my makeup, my books, my shoes….and because the eldest three are now teenagers, sometimes they hate me. But in spite of this they soon come and say sorry and we have a hug and it’s back to normal, whatever that is.
To complicate matters, two of my children have major chronic health conditions, one was unwell from birth and has also recently been diagnosed with autism and the other one became ill out of the blue, five years ago.
My writing is currently an escape from this, although I’d love to touch on some of these issues in future! We have had a hard few years, as typically of life, everything happens at once and both girls were seriously ill within months of each other, both requiring major operations in the same year. The ripple effects of these things spill out to affect siblings and the wider family circle alike.
Yet finally at times, I feel there is a chink of sunlight breaking through from behind the clouds, we are scarred a little perhaps, but stronger, wiser and together an invincible team doing our best to enjoy the different journey from the one we booked.
Photo credit: Angie Orth
Writing is an attempt to rediscover my identity, not as a mum, nurse and carer but as a person with a job, as a writer. It can be hard to hang on to, as there are a lot of demands on my time. I love my girls and having a busy family but I guess I want my cake and eat it. (I never did understand that expression, if you have a piece of cake why on earth would you not want to eat it?)
Now I feel like a butterfly emerging out of the chrysalis, letting my wings dry, testing them out as I gingerly take my first steps into the world of writing.
Storytelling has always been a passion and since my childhood I have jotted snippets and ideas down in notebooks whenever I can. Throughout everything, I’ve been dreaming up ideas for stories in the background, scrawling down notes in a variety of coloured books.
Then I realised, having hit the big 40 that it was now or never to follow my dreams, so I started scribbling away seriously and on a regular basis.
I love having the opportunity to entertain people with my work.
“She believed she could,
so she did.”
To date, I have had various articles published in magazines and I am a regular contributor to several publications, from Jane Austen’s Regency World to Caravan Magazine.
In 2018, I was lucky enough to sign with the lovely Kate Nash at the Kate Nash Literary Agency and in 2019 I signed my first book deal with Bloodhound Books. I am incredibly excited to announce that my debut novel, The Jane Austen Dating Agency is to be published on February 10th 2020.
When I am not writing, I love walking the dogs, who are all male funnily enough, spending time with my family and friends, visiting stately homes (obviously pretending I live there) and dancing of all kinds, especially Zumba.
Please do get in touch if you want to chat about books or anything writerly!