For as long as I can remember, my two greatest dreams were to be a teller of stories, and to live in Cornwall. I achieved the first of those ambitions at the age of 20, when my first fantasy novel, The Book of Paradox, was published in the USA and Britain. I've since published more than sixty novels, and the ideas are still flowing as strongly as ever. Then in 1998, I finally fulfilled my second dream, when I moved with my artist partner, Cas Sandall, to the north Cornish coast.
But to basics: I was born in Hertfordshire on 29th May 1952, and am a typical scatterbrained Gemini. I spent most of my school years writing stories when I should have been concentrating on lessons, and by the time I left school I had completed two embarrassingly bad novels. I worked, firstly, as a secretary (again, writing stories when I should have been typing letters) and later, after moving to London, as a paperback blurb-writer, which was much more my sort of thing. In 1977, with 6 novels published (if not exactly best-sellers!) I went freelance and supplemented my writing income with copy-editing and proofreading.
My 'big break' came in 1984, when my agent of the time persuaded me to expand and re-write my second book, Lord of No Time, into a trilogy - The Time Master. To my delight, and with the boost of three stunning Robert Gould covers, Time Master was a great success on both sides of the Atlantic, and in the next 10 years I wrote and published 15 more fantasy novels, including the Indigo series and a 'prequel' and sequel to Time Master. I also started to write children's and Young Adult novels, and it astonishes me to look back and realise that I've completed more than 35 books in this field alone as well as more stories for adults. In fact as I write this (in the summer of 2007) I've worked out that this year will see me writing my 80th novel! Makes me wonder how I ever found time to eat and sleep!
I do make time for other things now, though. Cas and I met in 1994, and soon agreed that London was no longer the place for us. We moved to Worcestershire, where I have family, but we hankered after the sea. I suspect we've both got a good helping of salt water in our veins as well as blood - Cas used to be a senior Merchant Navy officer, and me; well, I'm at my best and happiest at the coast. So why resist the inevitable? We did what we had both always wanted to do: headed South-West.
Cornwall has a magical quality of its own, and is now truly home to us both. We married within a year of moving here, and we live within sound of the sea and ten minutes' walk of the beach, in a timber house with our big black cat, Simba (a worthy successor to the much-loved deaf, eccentric white Spike), a 'sensible' car, a small sailing dinghy, a garden full of plants and wildlife, and a lot of inspiration. When I'm not writing, I love to cook, sing (pretty good), play guitar (not bad) or piano (hmm, well...), garden, beachcomb, catch tiddlers in rock pools (I'm old enough now not to worry about seeming childish; if anyone looks askance, I just pretend I'm a marine biologist doing vital research!), go sailing with Cas (he's good at it, I'm a muddle-headed beginner, but I will get there) and mess around in the surf with my boogie-board when the water's warm enough. Cas and I are now also members of 'Falmouth Shout', a shanty group (there are 20 of us, men and women) who raise funds for the RNLI. Keeps the voice in trim!
Inspiration: yes, there's plenty of it. Enough to keep me writing well into my dotage. Which I fully intend to do.