I grew up in a pretty Essex village and left full-time education at sixteen after an unhappy five years at secondary school. When I first left school I worked in shops and call centres and would often jot down lines of poetry or scraps of short stories on strips of till roll which usually ended up in the washing machine.

In 2012 I spent time at an ashram in Rishikesh. The experience had a huge impact on my life. I knew I needed to write, that it was what I should be doing. I moved to Brighton and enrolled on a ten-week creative writing course. The course gave me the confidence to take my writing seriously. I then went to London and completed a degree in Creative Writing at London Metropolitan University.

Notes on My Family is my first published novel. I am currently working on my second novel and for young adults and studying for an MA in Creative Writing at Birkbeck, University of London. I live in North London. I love reading (of course) photography, spending time with good friends, travel and my mini trampoline.

Along with writing novels I take photographs and blog about life, creativity and writing.

Yes. As a child I was always making up stories and plays for my sister and her friends to act in. I wrote a lot of bad poetry in my teens (who didn’t?) and my first novel when I was twenty-six.

Yes. I was very badly bullied at school. Being bullied at school or work is not okay. If you are being bullied, you should talk to someone. If they won’t listen, find someone who will.

I know that when you’re at senior school it can feel like it’s going to last forever but it really doesn’t. Keep your head down, hang in there, and soon you will be free to make your own way in the world.

Aside from reading and writing, I love watching films, going to the theatre, listening to music, and bouncing on my mini-trampoline!

A few of my favourite films include Manhattan (1979) Margaret (2011) and Far from the Madding Crowd (2015). My favourite film when I was a teenager was Mystic Pizza (1988) and I still love it!

My taste in music is very varied. I will listen to folk, rock, classical, reggae… It depends on my mood!

I also enjoy photography, particularly street photography. I love taking photographs and how it’s possible to tell a story in a single image.

I love to read so this is a tough one for me. A few of my favourites include: The French Lieutenants Woman by John Fowles, Of Human Bondage by Somerset Maugham, Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov and The Black Prince by Iris Murdoch.

My favourite novel when I was sixteen was Shanghai Baby by Wei Hui.

Yes, if you want to write keep reading and keep writing! It may sound obvious but the best way to learn to write is to write.

Creative writing courses and degrees aren’t for everyone but they do provide a supportive environment in which to share your work and receive constructive feedback. Completing my degree also gave me the time to write which is important. However, if you truly want to write, you will make the time.