Author of The Gardener's Wife and The Headmaster's Daughter
Jane Allison, debut novelist at 72
Born in Pontefract, where the liquorice comes from – I even had a vacation job at the factory! I studied for O and A levels at the Girls’ High School and participated in school drama productions there. Leaving school, I chose to attend the new University of Sussex, which enjoyed some notoriety during the 1960s. I benefitted greatly from a glorious three years there. Having spent a year out before university, teaching in a tough primary school in Pontefract, I knew I wanted to be a teacher. I took the Cert Ed in English at Durham and went on to teach English at several schools. However, I took 8 years out when my children were born and then returned part-time until I finally got a full-time post as an English teacher at Garstang High School in Lancashire. Four years later we moved to Durham. My husband’s career as a Methodist Minister involved us in several moves to different churches during these years and we ended up in Colchester in 2005. It was then I finally retired from teaching and began writing the story that I had been meaning to write for many years.
Author of Daisy Chain and Grave Issue
Julia Vaughan, author of Daisy Chain and Grave Issue, is a Medical Secretary living in Shropshire with her husband and 2 cats. As a youngster, she wanted to be Destiny Angel or one of Charlie’s Angels. Neither came to pass. Julia completed a degree from Worcester University in English & Literary Studies with Associated Drama and has been writing crime and mystery fiction for years, with the odd short story published. She’s happiest when watching Columbo, Law & Order and Midsomer Murders.
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Author of The Camel and the Butterfly
Michael is a former banker from Lancashire originally, and though he has travelled and lived in many different parts of the world, he still considers it his home.
At university, Michael studied Chinese language and after graduating, lived in Japan for a while. Following a Masters in International Studies, he started a career in London, for the most part working in banking.
During his early years in London in the 90s, Michael wrote his first novel, which is still on a floppy disc somewhere. The Camel and the Butterfly is his second novel, but first to be published, and writing it has been a wonderful and thought-provoking experience.
Michael has also been an extra in films; climbed mountains in the snow; walked along the Great Wall of China and sat beneath the cherry blossoms of Japan. But if you ask him, Michael will tell you that none of these holds a candle to spending time with his wife and son.
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Author of The Dinner Club, The Life and Love (Attempts) of Kitty Cook, and 31 Days of May
Helen Aitchison is a writer from North East England. She is the director of a Community Interest Company, Write on the Tyne, which provides creative writing courses and mentoring with a focus on engaging marginalised people. Helen also teaches for her local council, is a freelance writer for StoryTerrace and an on-line journalist for Radio Gateshead.
Helen has 20 years’ experience in the health and social care sector, from frontline support work with victims of domestic abuse to senior management for a national charity supporting homeless and vulnerable adults and young people.
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Author of The Right to be Forgotten
Originally from Northumberland but now based in Northampton, Kris was a Civil servant for 20 years before retraining in the charity sector. She has worked for some wonderful charities, starting with the Motor Neurone Disease Association, and is currently working for a homeless charity in Northampton as well as volunteering at Northampton Hospital.
Kris is married with 3 lovely step daughters and 6 step-grandchildren. When not writing she likes to travel; particularly to see family in Sardinia and Belgium.
While writing Kris likes to listen to Scala radio and Classic FM.
Author of What Happened to Evie Del Rio?
I’ve always enjoyed the written word and have started writing many a novel, but ‘What Happened to Evie Del Rio’ is the one that I am most proud of as it’s been in my head for such a long time. The lockdown enabled me to crack on and get it finished.
I like to think that I am currently enjoying my ‘middle youth’, rather than my ‘middle age’. I’m married and Mum to 2 boys, a 20-year-old and a 15-year-old but I still enjoy going to gigs and discovering new music.
I love reading women’s fiction, but I do have a bit of a penchant for crime and psychological thrillers! If I’m not on social media, reading, writing or listening to music you will probably find me on a football pitch cheering on my youngest son and his team.
I have always had music in my life; my late father was a jazz drummer and growing up I enjoyed the gig circuit as many of my friends were in bands and together with my love of the written word I have always wanted to write a book centred around an indie/rock band.
Author of Gail Lockwood and her Imaginary Agony Aunt
Lynne Hackles has been writing for many years. Her short stories have appeared in women’s magazines in the UK and abroad. She has regular features in Writing Magazine and has had a children’s novel for pre-teens and four non-fiction books published. She has also ghosted a book. Lynne is a creative writing tutor for a correspondence course and has led workshops and given many talks.
Until the first lockdown she was of no fixed abode as she and her husband had been travelling for three years all over the UK in their motorhome. After all the campsites closed they lived on a friend’s drive for seventeen weeks before moving into a house and selling Bill, their beloved motorhome.
Lynne is known for her sense of humour and has been told she should be doing stand-up comedy. She says she knows there is a difference between comedy and humour and she can’t stand up for long due to a life-time back problem.
Back in 2007 she appeared on Deal or No Deal and was described by Noel Edmonds as having warmth, colour, energy and positivity. He also thought she was a little crazy as she gambled between 10p and £75,000. She won the big money.
Author of The Dust of Melita
I was born and brought up in Scotland of an English mother and Irish father and have lived in several different regions of England throughout my adult life. After a career teaching English, among other subjects, in every sector of education (except primary), and raising two lovely daughters, I at last found time to write. A distance learning course in novel writing soon had me hooked on historical fiction and I have produced about a novel a year for the last ten years. I love the background reading and research and often locate my novels in regions known to me, exploring the lives and experiences of ordinary people caught up in larger historical events, in a range of different periods. My husband of 45 years and I are now thoroughly enjoying the experience of being grandparents to four young children
Author of Lies After Death
Keith lives in Wales with his wife, two young daughters and a cockapoo that looks more like a teddy bear than a dog. Before he began writing thrillers, Keith served in the British Army and actively engaged in operational duties in Iraq, Kosovo and Bosnia. He then pursued careers in a multitude of industries until he finally decided to follow his true passion – writing. When he isn’t writing you can usually find him up one of the many mountains or on one of the many beaches of Wales, probably with a teddy bear in tow that’s desperate for him to throw the ball for him again and again and again.
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Author of the Ghoulsmen Series
Alex Hughes lived in Zambia until the age of six, before moving to England and the historic cathedral city of Canterbury. At 17 he was diagnosed with severe depression and left school to recover.
While recovering, Alex started reading novels from East Asia such as The Godsfall Chronicles, City of Sin and Divine Throne of Primordial Blood, which inspired him with fresh ideas from a different philosophical and cultural perspective. He put his imagination to the page and had written five novels by the age of 23, when he was accepted onto (and completed) the Faber Academy Submissions and Editing Course.
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