I went to Notre Dame, an all-girls convent school in the West End of the city. My schooldays were full of music – and a lot of praying - and I loved English and History. None of the other subjects I studied interested me whatsoever, and I was hopeless at Maths. At sixteen I left school and went to the University of Glasgow ( far, far too young) where I took a degree in English Literature and Language and found myself four years later - and not quite knowing how - employed by Glasgow District Council in several departments including the Dampness section. Two years later I became a Secondary English teacher, and two years after that I went back to the University of Glasgow to take a post-graduate degree in English Language. Next came employment as a lexicographer with Collins dictionaries, where I learned to play with and manipulate language in microscopic detail. When I look back now, I realise that every job I’ve ever done ( apart from working in the Dampness section) has led me towards becoming a writer, a secret dream I achieved when my novel Think Me Back was published in 2001.
Since then I have combined full-time writing with raising a family, now grown and flown. Fat Boy Swim my 'breakthrough' novel is on the English curriculum in schools throughout the UK, as are several other of my novels.
In 2008 the direction of my writing changed completely when I was commissioned by the National Theatre of Scotland to write a new play. In 2010 my debut drama, EMPTY, was produced, directed by Vicky Featherstone. I have been writing plays non-stop since then:
THE SUNDAY LESSON, directed by Joe Douglas for Oran Mor SUPPLY, directed by Emma Callander for Oran Mor OZONE, directed by Joe Douglas for Oran Mor 250'th A Play, A Pie and a Pint. ALL THE TIME, directed by Gaynor McFarlane for Oran Mor Three Minute Thursday CHAMBER OF NOTHING, multicast play for schools, pub. Heinemann/Pearson THE DROWNING POND directed by Joe Douglas. A musical adaptation of my own novel for YOUTH MUSIC THEATRE UK BABY'S COME BACK directed by Gaynor McFarlane for BBC Radio Scotland THE LITTLE MERMAID, a pantomime directed by Lee Reynolds for Coatbridge College performing arts students. MOTHER GOOSE DOES EGGS FACTOR, a pantomime directed by Charlene Boyd for Coatbridge College performing arts students. BROKEN DREAMS - a play with Country and Western song. In progress.
In tandem with my own writing, I give talks and lead workshop on creative writing and drama. I was the Scottish Booktrust's Virtual Writer- in - Residence 2009-10 and twice mentored the winning candidates of their Young Writer Competition. I have been working over a long period with young writers at Toonspeak, leading their Word of Mouth group. I have also worked this year with Terra Incognito on their Young Carers Island project.