A little historical detail about me . . .
I was born in the seaside town of Southport in 1947. At that time, Southport was still a part of Lancashire, but since the county boundary changes of 1974 it has become a part of Merseyside. I went to school in Southport and did my three year teacher training in Liverpool (1965-68). My geology degree came a little later, an extension of my love of physical geography.
My earliest memories stem from the first years of the 1950’s when we lived in a ‘prefab’ – a prefabricated house. Life was hard for everyone in those years following the war and, young as I was, I still recall my mother with her rations book . . .
. . . and the dreadful state of badly bombed cities like Liverpool, where my mother’s family still lived. My parents were married in 1944, during one of my father’s leaves from the Royal Navy. My dad was from Southport, which escaped most of the bombing, and they lived with his parents until I was born three years later. Then they were offered the prefab. Most prefabs have long since gone, but no one can deny that such temporary housing served its purpose at the time. The population grew rapidly during the peaceful years following six long years of war – and I can claim to be part of that great ‘baby boom’. Yes, I’m definitely a ‘boomer’.
Despite the hardships, I had a really happy childhood. We left the prefab behind when I was seven, and I remember crying over it. I suppose a first home, no matter how humble it is, always stays in the mind. Well, at least, mine did . . . and it really was extremely humble.
I owe my love of reading to my father, who could always be found with his head inside a book after a hard day’s work. And in the years following the war, the days of most ‘working-class’ men were long and hard. He never missed taking the three of us – I have a younger sister and brother – to the library every other Saturday. I seemed to spend most of my time looking forward to the next visit, especially as the three books we were allowed in those days had generally been well and truly devoured by the first Tuesday. There was something about the library that I loved. The officious librarian, who would glare at anyone who even dared to scrape back a chair on the wooden floor, and the big SILENCE sign, didn’t bother me at all. No, I liked the silence. I would sit at a table and scrutinise book after book before I finally made my choices.
I left Southport to take up my first teaching post in a small mining village near Doncaster in Yorkshire. I had moved from red rose territory to the realms of the white! But I loved my new school and the children I taught (I was a Secondary school teacher). It was in Yorkshire that I met my husband to be. He taught chemistry at a rival school (the rivalry generally referring to all things of a sporting nature). We were married in 1970, so it’s forty four years this year. In 1971 we moved down to Wantage (in Berkshire until 1974, now in Oxfordshire). Wantage is known as ‘King Alfred’s Town’, the site of his birth, and although I can’t claim to have been intending to write books about him since that time, living there did ignite the first sparks of interest in me for the Anglo Saxon /Viking period.
The following years were far too busy bringing up six children (all ‘pink’ roses!) and then eventually going back to teaching, to even contemplate the idea of writing. But the desire was always there, lying dormant just beneath the surface of my everyday life and thoughts.
Our children are all well grown up now and I retired from teaching a few years ago. We have all lived in Nottinghamshire since 1976, and my husband and I now live in a small village on the Nottinghamshire-Lincolnshire border, midway between Lincoln and Newark. Both of these places are full of lovely old buildings, including castles.
Since retiring I’ve been putting my newfound free time to good use. I’ve recently published my first book on Amazon, and the second is presently nearing completion. The novels are part of a trilogy, ‘Sons of Kings’. Book 1 is entitled, ‘Shadow of the Raven’, and Book 2 is ‘Pit of Vipers’.
My books are historical fiction (what else would they be?) set in the Anglo Saxon/Viking era. The protagonists throughout the trilogy are Alfred, son of King Aethelwulf of Wessex and Eadwulf, son of King Beorhtwulf of Mercia. It is set primarily in the Anglo Saxon and Danish lands.
Denmark is a beautiful country, its people warm and hospitable. I can honestly say that I saw no sign of the brutal, savage Viking temperament during my visit a few years ago! Not that I expected to, of course. I’ll talk about some of the excellent sites we visited in a future blog. Memories – and the help of a few notes and photos – really helped me to focus on the settings of various scenes whilst I was writing ‘Shadow of the Raven’.
So, this is me – or rather, a very brief synopsis of my life and a little about what I’m doing now. I’m sure further details will emerge as I continue to write my blog. I’ll try to make them interesting!