I have always loved writing but never took it very seriously until I started my novel The Room Beyond. I studied English at King’s College, University of London and went on to do a Masters Degree in Victorian literature. It was there that I fell in love with sensation fiction, which was hugely popular during that era. Wilkie Collins is perhaps the most famous author to have appeared from this genre but there was another amazing writer who was incredibly famous then called Mary Elizabeth Braddon. She was massively well-known for her mysterious, eye-popping works that sent middle-class housewives flying to the bookshops. So, I took on Braddon’s mantle, wrote my own gothic Victorian sensation drama and brought it up to date with the present day entwined within.
This makes it all sound very simple but The Room Beyond actually took me seven long years to write. During that time I renovated two houses and had three children. I constantly had to find ways of squeezing it into my hectic family life and wrote most of the book during my children’s afternoon sleeps. But writing keeps a different part of my brain busy and as my life has become increasingly hectic I’ve cherished my writing moments more and more. I always manage to find some time for my work and even if I can’t physically sit down at the computer, the ideas are still bubbling in my mind.
Now I’m also in the midst of writing my new book about Walter Balanchine, a character from The Room Beyond. Walter is a Victorian mystic from London’s East End. A product of the brutal workhouse (think Oliver Twist) he is extraordinarily tall, wears even more extraordinary clothing and has a string of bottles and charms hanging from his neck. No one really knows where Walter came from and whether it really is magic that shimmers in his fingers but I feel it’s about time to tell his story …
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