I plunged in as an opera singer and sang in a lot of opera houses all over the world with many singers far more talented than I would ever be. At the start of the new millenium I decided to do things differently and replace the time I spent singing, worrying about singing, and sitting around in hotel rooms and rented flats, with time spent writing and dreaming up shows in my head. Thanks to leaps of faith by various people, I published my first novel, Long Gone Anybody (Transworld-Black Swan) in 2004, and the second, Cold Comfort (Transworld-Doubleday) in 2006, and directed my first piece of writing for the theatre in 2001, (the regina monologues - Covent Garden Festival). Then I assisted Richard Jones at Glyndebourne (a theatre in which I had last sang Cherubino, and who had helped me by sending me to the National Opera Studio). Then I started my own company, The Paddock, and in the last seven years, we did lots of exciting things, large and small, involving theatre, opera and dance, usually in unexpected places, some of which I wrote, or directed or both, and some of which I handed over to other talented people. Meanwhile I began teaching writing at University of Sussex, and sometimes, if I was lucky, for the Arvon Foundation, and mentoring online for The Literary Consultancy.
I am currently working on both my third and my fourth novel at the same time, as extended work on only the third wasn’t going as well. In March 2013 I am directing a new opera, Imago, by Orlando Gough and Stephen Plaice, at Glyndebourne Opera. I get to work on this with other people too like designer Es Devlin and her associate Bronia Housman, and lighting designer Paul Pyant, and projection artist Finn Ross. The University of Sussex got rid of the Creative Writing strand in Adult Education, so we are all teaching the same courses now at New Writing South in Brighton. I also do a lot of one-to-one private mentoring for novelists. It has been said I am a ‘forensic’ editor.