June 15th - Sheila Who? Some of you may well be saying. I realised, after reading Marina's introduction that I haven't given you any personal details - sorry! So here goes: a potted history! I arrived in a hurry after a drive from Surrey to Suffolk in an Austin 7 - my mother ate half a pint of shrimps on the journey and I guess that's why I am allergic to shell fish.
I have been writing since the age of 3 and never stopped story telling and scribbling (with illustrations) thereafter until my husband staggered home to our smallholding in Kent with a long-carriaged typewriter and told me to get something down in print! By the time we had seven children (result of too much dreaming, in my mother's opinion) I was being published, in my early thirties. Articles, short stories, stories for the American children's bible belt, and hopefully humorous look at family life for women's magazine, continued to this day in my memoirs for Magna Dales. Two more children and I got into my stride, with romantic short stories for the now sadly defunct Woman's Realm. Sally Bowden, the editor, said I should write novels, well, my first book took me seven years to write, Tilly's Family, but did very well. That was in 1996 and I haven't stopped since... I have had the pleasure of writing for Hale
for some years now and feel part of the Hale family of writers.
I am now grandmother to 23 spirited grandchildren, who inspire me!
There are always children in my books. I write about WW2, of the days
when I was a small evacuee - about the music hall (my grandmother was a theatrical landlady) and love all the research for the late Victorian era and the 1920's. In a talk once I heard myself telling the audience, "I'm a tender writer, shall I say..." I do write from the heart and I never know the end of a story until I reach that point, and often surprise myself.
Shall I admit that I have also written village pantomimes, and for my sins, have appeared in them too? More an ugly sister than Cinderella!
A few years ago I loved to tap dance and sing as well as act - but I am
becoming what my dear Mum, who is 102 and can still manage a high kick (though from a sitting position nowadays) discrepit. It's a telling
Probably your eyes have glazed over at this point. I have eighteen books under my belt and more waiting to burst forth, like all of you. Keep writing - and so will I. Sheila