Why I'm a Writer

I always wanted to be a writer. When asked at school how I would make my living, my reply was always 'author'. I had visions of Agatha Christie and Jane Austen. Or James Cameron, whose reporting always moved me, particularly his reports on nuclear testing.

My teachers, by and large, did their best to dissuade me. I was a miner's daughter from the South Yorkshire coalfield and 'author' wasn't on the cards for people like me. There was no money in writing, they explained, and it wasn't steady work, like the post office or the bank.

Luckily, my creative writing and English teachers were a different kettle of fish. They got me writing poetry, short stories, plays and rhyming pantomines that were performed in front of the school. The fact that I now write for a living is probably due entirely to them.

After university, where I segued a modest talent for languages into a degree in Classics, I went straight into journalism, and in the intervening years have done most jobs that exist on a magazine - production controller, ad executive, reporter, assistant editor, production editor and editor. I've worked on magazines on pensions, on broadcasting, on IT, on finance, on optometry, on social services and on European media provision, and with frequencies from weekly to quarterlies and one-offs.

I've also edited Government White Papers, edited websites, and commissioned and written articles on everything from health to tax to moving house. Meanwhile, I also trained as an aromatherapist, which I still practise in my spare time.

For most of my career, I concentrated on magazine production, the precision of which which I enjoy like a game of chess, but after my husband and I moved to France I turned mainly to writing features and editing websites. France, for me, is a strong area of expertise but I have also written about interior design, travel and other lifestyle subjects.

My first book, Living in France, was published by Harriman House in March 2008.