I used to write stories constantly. My childhood was filled with books written on folded paper, of made-up worlds and expressions of imagination. I loved story-writing assignments at school, although my teachers didn’t always love what I wrote. One called my parents to the school to discuss the ‘worryingly dark’ nature of my work, which inspired me to write more just like that.
I fell in love with horror in all art forms, but especially in literature. Silence of the Lambs and American Psycho felt so intensely beautiful to me, and the horror stories I absorbed through books and films inspired teenage scribblings that thankfully never found their way onto the internet. Being born in 1980 and not being online until the mid-1990s was a blessing in that respect.
I wrote a lot of poetry during those years too, some of which was absolutely terrible and some of which I still treasure as the foundations of my current love of creating with words. A love of poetry as an art form has endured and although it’s not my main creative outlet, I still pour words into poems from time to time.
I remember being told that ‘being a writer isn’t a real job’ by a careers advisor at school and, being terrified of having to decide what I was going to do for the rest of my life RIGHT NOW, I accepted this as truth. In a way, I’m glad I didn’t pursue writing as a career back then. The upside of waiting a couple of decades to fully understand that being a writer is as real as any other job, is that the landscape of publishing has changed so much during that time, and I’m so happy that self-publishing, ebooks and social media exist now.
When I was twenty, I started a college course in media, specialising in writing and directing for film and TV. I had none of the qualifications required but for some reason didn’t let that stop me from applying. I was given a place on the course anyway based on a collection of short stories I submitted with my application, but unfortunately this endeavour was short-lived for financial reasons, I still treasure the memory of telling my personal tutor that I still wanted to be a writer even though I couldn’t afford to stay on the course and he replied, “You already are a writer.”
After that, I sought out writing opportunities in volunteer roles and online communities. I was happy to be able to have writing as a hobby and it provided a pleasantly solitary antidote to the very much not solitary job of running a photography business and studio. Although I adored my photography work, I loved the escape to a different world, or a different version of this world, that writing offered. It still serves that purpose for me.
Most recent working-for-someone-else job was as a third sector online communications coordinator. I was writing professionally and spending my days elbow-deep in social media, which was basically heaven. While I definitely enjoyed marketing, I experienced frequent reminders that I only felt comfortable using those skills when I was free to do so with integrity and authenticity. When I left that job at the end of 2016, I had no idea what I was going to do at the age of 35, living with a health condition that severely affected the kind of work I was physically able to manage.
Having made it through that particular breakdown spiritual awakening (all credit to Brené Brown for the terminology), 2017 became the year I decided to really do the writing thing. I started sharing my work under my full name as a way to fully connect myself to my writing. I took the massive step of saying ‘I am a writer’ instead of ‘I want to be a writer’, and the even more gargantuan step of believing it.
Since leaping head-first off the do-the-thing cliff, I’ve been writing less memoir and more fiction. It felt strange and alien at first, as any new venture has the potential to do, but the feeling that this is what I was always supposed to be doing has been so strong that I know I’m on the right path.
My current fiction work is character-driven and leans towards dark and transgressive, except when it doesn’t. I write primarily queer characters with a heavy dose of violence and crime, a bit of angsty emotional turmoil, and non-linear narrative structure. My work often explores the subversive potential of the human condition, in all its fascinating strangeness.
I published my first novella in July 2017, my second in February 2018, and I’m working on my third book at the moment. I’m still at the beginning of this adventure, but I feel like I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be and I can’t wait to see what happens next.
See my writing credits for projects and published work.