As a kid, I didn’t always find growing up a lot of fun and getting lost in a story or my own imagination was my favourite way of coping. It provided an escape where I could go to different places or live someone else’s life for a time, but it also taught me a lot about people, adventures, possibilities and ways of dealing with life.
My love of stories led me to an English Literature and Language degree at the University of Leeds. Unfortunately being “forced” to read a huge number of books that wouldn’t have been my first, second or even tenth choice snuffed out any affection for literature for several years. Life got in the way too, as it has a habit of doing, and the combination resulted in me ignoring my writing dream for a long time.
Then a few years ago, thoughts of writing began to reawaken through a number of different circumstances. A year later I was offered voluntary redundancy from my job and I gleefully accepted with the idea of spending a year pursuing my writing dream. That stretched to five years, before I had to head back into the world of (part-time) employment. The journey has been much slower than I anticipated and the time required to learn and develop the craft of writing has been infinitely longer than I ever imagined.
During that time I’ve been mainly working on a science-fiction YA story, the first in a quartet, as well as drafting the second story. I haven’t tried pushing it out much into the big wide world, but will be doing that properly later this year! If I have to self-publish then that’s fine – there’s no point it sitting on my laptop where no one can read it, and most people who’ve read it so far have genuinely loved it! Watch this space…
I’m a member of the wonderful Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), participating in both the North-West monthly meetings and an online critique group. I’ve taken Writing Fiction for Young Adults courses with both Oxford University Continuing Education Department (online with Benjamin Scott) and the Arvon Foundation (week long residential with Melvin Burgess and Lucy Christopher).
I’m also a mother to two amazing young men, Jesus follower, coffee snob, sociable introvert and terrible fidget. Welcome to the world of Once Upon A Mel!