I started writing at school, where an English teacher told me one day I’d write a novel. It's only taken most of my life to achieve this! Cielo was formed as a spark of an idea one sunny afternoon while riding my bike past a country house in North Norfolk. I wondered, just who could live there? Then came Nathan, and Max.
Cielo is the story of forgotten people in society, both succumbing to addiction to escape their lives. Nathan is fresh out of prison when he arrives at Cielo, abandoned by his family, he resorts to dealing drugs and once inside decides to change his life. He finds an affinity with plants and is sent to Cielo, to restore the old garden there. He meets Max, an alcoholic, who asks him to build a white garden, where he can lie in and die alone, his face in the rose petals. Cielo weaves its magic on Nathan, who begins to fall under Max’s spell, this man who had it all, why is he trying to kill himself? And why did every other gardener leave this beautiful place, never to be heard of again. Nathan must dig deep to find strength to face the hidden horrors, and family secrets buried within the house he has grown to love. Can he save Max, and can he save himself?
I’m a medical secretary at the local hospital, and have two children and two granddaughters. I can always be found with my head in a book, my nose inside a rose, or with my family. I live in Norwich, Norfolk, my home city.
Tell us about yourself?
Are you working on something now? Can you tell us about it?
I’m working on book two, called The Hunt for Delphi. A mystery thriller on obsessive love and the risks and challenges of staying hidden. Delphi, a former exotic dancer, is hunted down in a TV reality show on a remote island. Who will find her, win the reward, and what is more important, money or freedom?
Which six books will you take to the Island?
The Clocks in This House All Tell Different Times by Xan Brooks.
I knew nothing about this book before reading, but the themes explored of loss, society’s expectations, and the chilling tale of children taken to meet and entertain wounded war heroes hidden away in a forest will chill you. The writing is just superb.
The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks
This is phenomenal, a short book; but so full on with horror, a dysfunctional family and a massive twist at the end, it should be on everyone’s shelf. Tight, visceral and utterly immersive, I had nightmares after first reading, so will read this in daylight on the island.
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon.
What a book; full of characters you adore, a story of comic books, and the thrilling story of escape artists and the impact of war. Romance, adventure, searching for yourself, and building a dream flood every page. I just wish I knew someone else who had read it so I could talk about it more.
The Kingdoms by Natasha Pulley
This is my only recent book, I have so many great favourites from this year too BUT how could I leave this out? I could probably read and re-read this over and over. A beautiful book, with adventure, intrigue, longing and finding the life you want. I don’t want to say more, (it needs to be a surprise when you read it), but to say I wept buckets at the end is all perhaps the recommendation needed.
Which disc will you take to the Island?
To pick one song is so, so hard, almost worse than six books, but I’ll go for If I Get High, by Nothing but Thieves, not only for the lyrics, but for Conor Mason’s exquisitely beautiful voice.
What will be your luxury item?
My bed, where I’ll be reading the books…