I grew up in Cumberland and came south in the 1980’s. I lived in that secret strip alongside the Solway Firth between the mountains and the sea. The men in my family were coal miners, but I mined the local village library!
By the time I was 10, I had read all the books in the children’s shelves, Arthur Ransome, Biggles included and with the connivance of the spinster librarian, I started to devour Jean Plaidy and as soon as I could, Denis Wheatley and James Bond in equal relish.
I attended the local Grammar School where I soaked up the learning, but also began to understand that I was different. My divorced mother had recently remarried and we now lived in a council house with electricity and indoor plumbing – a luxury I’d spent my first eleven years without.
After Grammar School, my mother wanted me to get a job in an office, but I trained as a nurse – university or teacher training college being unthinkable in my family. I married early and, after a couple of years in New Zealand as a £10 pom, I returned to a renamed West Cumbria to raise my two children.
When the youngest went to school, I worked as a social worker with the elderly and with difficult teenagers and gradually started studying with the Open University. Through my OU tutor, I found work teaching at the local tech where I subsequently gained my teaching qualification.
Side by side with this, I was also studying Transactional Analysis with Mary Cox. It was sheer coincidence that I found her classes, and I was in fact the only local resident there, all the others were from outside the area and had moved to Cumbria from outside. Mary went on to become a leading international TA practitioner, but I remember the early days with affection. As was the way in those early days, Mary was my trainer, therapist, supervisor and workshop leader all at the same time. She began her own formal TA training during this time; few people had qualifications, but she was always a gifted practitioner and I was fortunate to have her guidance. Without her insightful and loving help, my life would have been so different.
After my first marriage ended, I put aside my OU studies and took an undergraduate degree in Developmental Psychology at Sussex. When I started, a first degree in psychology was a pre requisite for a psychotherapist, by the time I finished, it was no longer the case, but I gained so much as a therapist from having an academic psychology background, that I’m not sorry I did that.
It was at Sussex that I met my wonderful second husband and we have now been together for over 23 years. Those years have been a time of constant learning. I took a job teaching ‘A’ level psychology and ‘A’ level philosophy of religion. I had become interested in feminist theory at Sussex and that led me to study the role of the female in religion with the late Asphodel Long, accredited by University of Wales, Lampeter. That in turn led me to combine my love of mythology and writing and therapy in my MA – TA, writing, teaching and therapy all in one wonderful, exciting swirl.
Along the way I’ve read every important female fantasy writer and now urban fantasy writers. If you are unfamiliar try Marion Zimmer Bradley, Ursula le Guin, Kelley Armstrong, Patricia Briggs and the daddy of them all, Charles de Lint. In these pages you will not only find wonderful stories of various levels of escapism, and intellectual level, but always underneath these authors are looking at problems in our society. By placing the tale in universe not our own, the authors are free to explore things we can not, constrained as we are by our biology and psychological processes. Happy reading!