I'm a Londoner by birth, but have lived in Brighton (on the South Coast of England) for more than half my life. I've loved writing since childhood, and produced quite a lot of embarrassing juvenilia during my school years (as you do); after leaving school I took various secretarial jobs before embarking in my early twenties on a Theology Degree at Heythrop College, London. Emerging as a fully-fledged BD (Hons), I found myself faced with three possible career paths: nun, teacher, or academic. Naturally I went back to secretarial work, but it was around this time that the possibility of writing a 'proper novel' first began to stir, and I sent various disastrous attempts to random publishers with no success.
I first encountered Sherlock Holmes when I moved to Brighton with Charlie Raven in 1986. The centenary of the publication of 'A Study In Scarlet' was fast approaching, Jeremy Brett was camping it up on the Granada TV adaptations of the Canon, and the bookshops were full of Holmes-related literature and memorabilia. Charlie and I thought we might as well take a peek at the original stories, see what all the fuss was all about. Needless to say we were quickly hooked, not least by the very obvious (to us) homoerotic subtext to the Holmes/Watson relationship. This was a taboo subject at the time, and there was little if any literature, fictional or otherwise, exploring it – a shocking omission in our eyes, and we both set about repairing the oversight with literary offerings of our own. Mine was 'My Dearest Holmes', published by the Gay Men's Press in 1988 to tabloid headlines screaming 'Sherlock Homo! He's gay in new book!' The Sherlock Holmes Society of London, with whose representatives I shared a lively radio interview, were less than impressed and the Conan Doyle Estate used the copyright laws of the time to ensure that the book could not be published in America. Is it any wonder that Charlie's novel, 'A Case Of Domestic Pilfering', remained unpublished and was destined to moulder away in a drawer for nigh on thirty years?
Nevertheless, GMP kept me on as an author long enough for my fictional diary of Constance Wilde, 'The Coward Does It With A Kiss', to be published in 1990. By then I'd started a family, and took the deeply unfashionable decision to stay at home and devote my energy, such as it was, to bringing up my daughters. While both my published novels went out of print and sunk into obscurity, I amused myself by trying out various drafts of a new idea, suggested to me by Moir Leslie's performance as Lady Catherine de Bourgh's sickly, silent daughter in the BBC's 1980 adaptation of 'Pride And Prejudice' – a look at the Darcy/Elizabeth courtship from the perspective of Fitzwilliam Darcy's unofficial fiancee, Anne de Bourgh.
I emerged blinking into the light of the real world as my daughters grew older, only to find that a) My Dearest Holmes was sparking some interest in online forums, and b) the Gay Men's Press had authorised, and been paid royalties for, a Japanese version published by Hakusensha Inc. in 1993. By then it was too late to pursue any legal redress, but I did take matters into my own hands by publishing a print-on-demand edition of MDH with BookSurge (later CreateSpace) in 2007. There's since been an Italian edition, 'Mio Diletto Holmes', (Tre Editori, 2011) and a new Japanese edition (Shinshokan, 2015).
I've collaborated with artist Nina Falaise on a children's book about the evils of Bullfighting, 'What Brave Bulls Do'; I've had a few pseudo-academic articles/contributions to anthologies published on the 'Dea Caelestis' of Classical Paganism; and 'Before Elizabeth - the Story of Anne de Bourgh' finally saw the light of day in 2017, along with my reworked version of Charlie's 'A Case Of Domestic Pilfering'.
I now live on the outskirts of Brighton with my husband Leslie (aka Mr B), a lumpy old dog called Spike, and a small flock of racing pigeons. My two beautiful daughters live and work in London. I prefer the quiet life – don't get out much, don't drive, don't have an iphone, don't have a clue how Charlie managed to set up this website - but I still do a bit of writing from time to time.
Please feel free to contact me with any comments or queries: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can check out my Goodreads blog here!
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