A Scottish based and extensively published writer of fiction (historical and contemporary novels and short stories) non-fiction and plays for theatre, radio and television.
I was born in Yorkshire to a Polish father and an English and Irish mother but I have spent most of my life in Scotland.
My most recent historical novels are The Physic Garden, (set in early 19th century Glasgow) The Jewel, about the life and times of Robert Burns's wife, Jean Armour, The Curiosity Cabinet, (one for fans of Outlander, perhaps) and The Posy Ring. All of these are published by Saraband.
Previous novels include Bird of Passage, The Amber Heart, Ice Dancing and Orange Blossom Love. I have also written The Way It Was, a history of the small Scottish island of Gigha (published by Birlinn) and For Jean, a companion volume to The Jewel: an edited collection of the poems, songs and letters that Burns wrote with his wife in mind, published by Saraband. I have several eBook collections of short stories available, and several of my stage plays in print, most notably Wormwood about the Chernobyl disaster, and The Price of a Fish Supper, both with Nick Hern Books.
I live and work in a 200 year old cottage with my artist husband, Alan Lees. I also deal in the antique textiles that I collect and that often find their way into my fiction.
My most recent book, A Proper Person to be Detained, is the true story of a murder in my Leeds Irish family, in 1881 and the effects that this single terrible event had on a family that was living on the edge of destitution. It was published to excellent reviews by Contraband in 2019
I'm happy to speak about all aspects of my work, my historical research, and my long switchback of a career as a writer.
I seem to have become a world expert on the life and times of Jean Armour, about which it's safe to say that I know more than almost anybody else!
I can be contacted via the SoA, and also through my website, Facebook and Twitter.
I can give entertaining talks and readings about all aspects of my research and writing. I give a limited number of mostly local free talks to various not-for-profit organisations. These are on a first come first served basis and paid events generally take precedence. For most events, travel expenses are payable, unless the venue is within a reasonable radius of my home in Ayrshire.
If you are registered with the Scottish Book Trust you can invite me under their Live Literature scheme. If not, my minimum fee is £175 per single session, plus travel and accommodation where necessary. I seldom undertake school visits, although I'm happy to speak to university and college students.
Like most writers, I am officially self employed. See my website for full details about all aspects of booking, payments etc.
I'm happy to give seminars and workshops, talks and readings about researching and writing historical fiction and fact in particular. I will write occasional commissioned feature articles on all aspects of my research and personal interests. I am comfortable with broadcasting, having worked in radio for many years.
Fiction, Folk/Fairy Tales/Mythology, Gardening, Medieval Literature, Radio, Rural Interest, Antiques, Antique Textiles, Theatre, Fantasy, Romance, Crafts, Drama, Feminism, Film, Social History, Women's Writing, Scotland