I was born in Belfast in 1977 and remember absolutely nothing about my childhood before the age of 13, when suddenly everything became massively important. I think that’s why I’m drawn to writing about teenagers.
I rediscovered children’s books in my early twenties when I was in hospital and my friends brought me a copy of Harry Potter. I thought, ‘Why have they brought me a children’s book?’ and then didn’t look up for two straight days.
I did a degree in Psychology at Queens University Belfast. Then another one in English and Creative Writing. For fun.
I was a completely closeted writer from the age of 6 to the age of 35, at which point I was forced to come out with the words, ‘Um, Mum, Dad,’ *shuffles toes on carpet*, ‘I kind of wrote this sort of book thing, and it’s been shortlisted in this competition thing and they’re going to print a bit of it. In um… The Times.’
If you’re going to be outed, doing it in a national newspaper is the way to go.
Flying Tips for Flightless Birds is my very first published novel and I am hugely excited about it.
I love working with young writers and I volunteer with Fighting Words Belfast at their Wednesday Write Club where I get to read amazing stories by teenagers. I love it because I never had writing friends when I was a teenager, *sniff*, and because they let me talk about writing. They’re probably sick of hearing me say ‘But character is EVERYTHING!!!’
I am the current Seamus Heaney Children’s Writing Fellow for Northern Ireland which means I get to champion children’s literature, work with young writers and readers, and call it work. (Score!)
I live with my husband, Michael, and our ancient VW Campervan, Gerda, and I blog about our travel adventures at weewideworld.blogspot.co.uk