I was raised in the seaside resort of Skegness, Lincolnshire, which is where I became a bookworm and lover of the written word. It's also where I cut my teeth as a cub reporter, learning that the best way to get a story was to get to know people and build up a trusting relationship. That ethos is what I stuck with when I started writing for national publications such as the Daily Mail and the Guardian, Woman and Real People.
When interviewing, I really loved getting under the skin of the people whose story I was telling, and understanding the motivations behind their actions. As I moved up the career ladder, though, I no longer had the chance to interview or write. I was too busy being the deputy editor of Pick Me Up, helping create what Press Gazette described as "one of the best launches issues ever seen." Or being put in charge of redesigning and relaunching Full House! (which recorded a massive 43% ABC increase that year, as a result). When I was special projects editor at Pep Publishing I created a ground-breaking monthly real life magazine, That's Amazing!, of which I was editor. I was also editor of all the specials for Full House! and Love It! The jobs I held were incredible...but I started to miss writing so much it became an ache.
Taking a gamble
I had an idea growing that wouldn't go away, based on something that had occurred to me years earlier when I'd worked in a men's prison. There was a story I was desperate to tell, and I was unlikely to ever get it as a journalist. It refused to be ignored - I was going to have to write a novel.
I bought a cheap laptop, the smallest I could find, and started writing during my commute and lunch breaks. Writing again was wonderful - but stolen moments weren't enough for me...
When I was 39, I decided to take voluntary redundancy - and become an author.
The pay off
My first novel, INVISIBLE, was published in April 2014 and became an Amazon bestseller (reaching number 6 in Kindle Murder). It has received high praise from critics on various national magazines and review blogs.
Critics have also loved my second crime thriller, FLOWERS FOR THE DEAD. It was published on 21 September 2015, and became an instant bestseller, going straight into the Top 20 on three of Amazon's lists, and hitting number 24 in the entire Kindle paid for store.
I have also reached number 1 on Amazon's Movers & Shakers, and number 3 in their Hot New Reads.
The next exciting instalment!
In December 2016 I took another step on my author journey when I signed a four-book deal with my publisher, Bookouture, an imprint of Hachette.
THE DARKEST LIES, was my first novel with Bookouture. It became an Amazon bestseller in the UK, US, Canada and Australia, and hit a coveted spot on the USA Today bestseller list!
Similar success has followed the publication of HER LAST SECRET and THE PERFECT FRIEND. I'm currently working on my sixth book, and can't wait to share it with you.
Over my 20-year journalism career I'd been very privileged to have met people from all walks of life, who had experienced all manner of things happen to them. This depth of experience lends my novels psychological insight, and a feeling of reality for the storyline. There is nothing I love more than writing gritty fiction with heart - and that's what I believe I owe my success to.