Ferdinand: Here is my hand.
Miranda:   And mine, with my heart in it.

Shakespeare, The Tempest, III i

Just because I'm a writer doesn't mean I have had an interesting life. In fact, historically, the more interesting my life has been, the less writing I have managed to get done. I'm currently getting LOTS of writing done so... well, join the dots.

Anyway, life would make a rotten book. Too many bathroom breaks, for one. And plotting? Forget it. Life is just one bloody thing after another, in no particular order and not necessarily heading for a satisfying conclusion. In fact, life's more like soup. Throw a lot of stuff into the pot and hopefully, you'll end up with something edible. If it's also nourishing and hasn't made a horrible mess on the stove, that's a bonus. Garlic helps.

So instead of attempting any kind of biography, here are some random anecdotes. If you invite me to dinner, I'll come up with more. If there's lots of wine, I'll even make some up. In fact, maybe I'll make some up now. Really, it would be a mistake to trust someone who tells lies to small children.


1. I used to tell taxi drivers in Manhattan complete lies about who I was and what I was doing in NYC and do it in a variety of accents. So once I was a French girl visiting an old American man I had met in Paris, and once I was a Russian emigree who had been kicked out of her apartment and once -- well, you get the idea. In fact, I grew up in Queens.

2. Despite the fact that I'm short, I spent years training to be a ballet dancer with a teacher who had escaped from Russia who used to yell at us about our "spaghetti legs", only to have it all go kerflop when by 16 it was pretty clear that I was not going to grow any taller.

3. I used to believe (I think I still do) that if there is a heaven, it will be a place that we can meet and be with all the people we have ever loved, whether or not they are actually real. So I will finally be able to meet Lucy Pevensie, Ozma of Oz, Lyra, Will Stanton and Great Uncle Merry, Jo March, Commander Vimes, the Bastables one and all, Pippi, Milly Molly Mandy and all the characters I have loved in all the books I've ever read. I also think that heaven will be all the marvelous places we have ever been or ever wanted to be.

4. I taught English and Drama for two years at the very posh girls' boarding school where Diana Spencer had gone. Also Tilda Swinton. It closed a couple of years after I left.

5. My son has Asperger's Syndrome. Sometimes I think I do too, but if so, I compensate really really well.

6. I can speak enough French, Italian, German and Arabic to find a train, order food and beer and laugh at a joke. I can't speak enough of any language (except English) to argue philosophy, politics or religion, which is possibly a good thing.

7. I did an MA in Medieval Women (history, art, literature) at York mostly because I couldn't figure out what else to do. A year of working in a dress shop in Cambridge and being told daily that I was unattractive and unfashionable by my boss, was enough to convince me that I did not want a job. The best bit of that job was the last day, when my friends got a handsome British Army boy to put on his dress uniform and carry me out in his arms. Like Debra Winger, only she actually knew the man carrying her out.

8. I have wanted to be a writer since I was four. In fact, there is nothing I have ever wanted more -- and nothing I have been more scared of not achieving. It was only when I finally realized that I was more scared of never trying than I was of failing that I started really writing.

9. I got a sort of underground theater company going in Cairo that didn't perform for the public, but rather for an 'invited' audience. This way, we could evade the censors and put on whatever music, theater or comedy we wanted to experiment with

10. I don't like it when things are too neat, so there isn't going to be a number ten. Oh, wait.


What about you? Email me and tell me a story. 


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