I trained as a journalist in London, and worked as a writer and subeditor for magazines and newspapers including the Guardian, Observer, Evening Standard, Classic FM Magazine, The Times, The Sunday Times and the Times Online. At The Times I worked as a classical music critic and arts writer, and a subeditor covering the arts, features and opinion pages. After moving north I continued as a Times music critic, and also freelanced in copyediting (including work with Time Warner Books and the United Nations University), proofreading and newspaper reporting. But my dream was always to write a novel.
In 2013 I completed my first full-length novel, Dances with the Daffodils. The book takes as its theme redemption through nature, and was inspired by the journals of Dorothy Wordsworth and the poetry of William Wordsworth. I secured a London-based literary agent, but decided to go it alone and self-publish.
I found, to my surprise, that cover designers, copyeditors, typesetters and printers within the traditional industry were also keen to tap into the growing trend for quality self-publishing, and were prepared to accommodate the (fledgeling) Swallow Books.
Dances with the Daffodils has sold well, garnered good reviews, enjoyed numerous print runs, was shortlisted for Lakeland Book of the Year in 2014, and has now been published in two editions. Spurred on by that success, I'm now completing my second novel (see more below), as well as offering my self-publishing service to fellow writers.
Independent publishing has come of age. With Swallow Books, writers can use all the tools of the big publishers – top-quality editing, copyediting, proofreading, typesetting, cover-designing and printing – but also enjoy personal control over copyright, royalties, design, distribution and marketing. If your book is ready to take to the next level, and you're prepared to invest your money in its high-quality production, do contact me.
I'm soon to complete my second novel, which is inspired by Emily Brontë's masterpiece, Wuthering Heights. The novel is set in the present day in the Lake District – my other great source of inspiration – and is intended almost as a modern 'translation' of Wuthering Heights, closely following the storyline and characters (renamed) of the original but relocating the setting from Yorkshire (I know! Sacrilege!). As with many people, Wuthering Heights has always haunted and fascinated me, and with my novel I'm attempting to recreate it, for myself and for the modern reader. I plan to publish the novel in 2020.