I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. At three I wanted to be an actress, too. At 11, I added Minister for Transport, as well. I had a place at York University, Canada (somehow the prospectus was in the library of my south London school and I was hooked) but I went into hospital instead.
I became a journalist – locally then on The Sunday Times, the Sunday Telegraph Magazine, et al. I wrote documentaries for BBC TV and then became a TV presenter/producer for United Artists.
Journalism was fun (journalists, too!) but I always felt I was wearing my father’s old overcoat; it didn’t quite fit me. I wanted to write books. Bizarrely, research for a TV programme led to a commission to write my first book, The Queen’s Prize, the history of the National Rifle Association of Great Britain. And me, skilled only in water-pistols.
I was working and quietly writing stories, a bit despondent, when I met someone whose response to publishers and agents rejecting my work with “it’s a bit different” and “it doesn’t fit a list” was “That’s marvellous! Isn’t that just what they’re looking for, something different?” So, thank you, Ian, for nudging me into setting up a publishing house. And thanks to Alma, Janet, Pat and Florence, the godparents of Black Light (produced first as The Sticky Rock Café).
My early dreams have changed shape but are there in many ways. I’m working among the characters, the actors, in the Dekaydence books. I write satire, much political. And I’m creating, I hope, books that contain some of the huge fun, excitement, passion and hope that I devoured from those books of once upon a time, many years ago.
And I’m thrilled now that my books don’t fit a list and are a bit different.
‘Publishers and agents kept telling me my work was “a bit different” and “didn’t fit their list”. Now I’m thrilled that’s the case.’