Having survived a not so illustrious career at school, I did some boring work in a couple of boring offices. My school reports said stuff like, ‘if she put her mind to it, then she’d probably be okay’, something later echoed by many of my bosses.
A natural underachiever and procrastinator, it wasn’t until a failed attempt at a football trick went arm-breakingly wrong that I started to write. With a ridiculous amount of time on my hands, and having had my eyeballs explode as a result of watching too much telly, I began.
The only problem, I didn’t have any characters in mind, so I adopted one. A mean old cleaning lady called Mrs M, who had been created by my Mum when I was a million years younger. Through the years she'd popped up in my mind, I often thought about her, where she was, what she was doing and now was my opportunity to find out.
I scribbled a few terrible pictures of this dastardly character and then started writing about her. Soon, others cartwheeled, flipped, and spun onto the page, the real stars of the show, Cassie, Edward, and Nicky. A few months later Cucumber rocked up with a massive chip on her shoulder and an abundance of attitude.
I could lie and tell you it was an instant masterpiece, but given my previous comments about my achievements, or lack of, it didn’t work out like that. It was pretty rubbish. But I was determined; determined to get to the end, determined to make it enjoyable and determined to make it something people wanted to read.
Cut to a few years later and, after lots of balled-up paper scribbles, a mind-boggling amount of deletions on the computer, too many corrections to count (I’m really bad at punctuation and spelling), and a massive pile of empty crisp packets, I was happy enough.
Shyly, I asked a few kids I know to read it and was astonished when the word ‘amazing’ repeatedly came up in their feedback.
So this is me now, I live in Bristol, a cool, happening, creative and environmentally friendly city where I spend a lot of time embarrassing my kids (only sometimes intentionally). I like to dabble in random crafts and particularly enjoy giving my ‘creations’ to friends and family just to see the pained expressions on their faces when they receive them. I also like hanging out with my friends, singing at the top of my voice (which I’m truly horrendous at), and have recently started writing my next story. It’s probably going to be called Cave. I also know most of what‘s going to happen in the sequel to Disappearing Act, so I should get on with writing that too. When I grow up I'd like to be a good children's fiction writer but I'll have to get a few more books under my belt before I can add the word 'good' to my description!
Oh, and I really, really, really like crisps.
Thanks for dropping by, hope you stay around for a bit.
p.s. grown-ups don’t like Chapter 14, there’s too much bogey in it for them.
Nicky could see the table was set for his breakfast, one knife, one fork, and one napkin and, while hovering at the mouth of Mrs M’s lair, he wondered what to do. Since waking he’d been frantically coming up with excuses, ‘Sorry Mrs M I’ve got a tummy ache,’ or, ‘Sorry Mrs M I’m allergic to food,’ but now he was standing in front of her, all escape plans escaped him.
“I was thinking you could have a fried egg sandwich for breakfast, but you might want something else?”
“Thank you, Mrs M,” his voice was small and unsure. “That would be lovely.”
“Are you thirsty? I’ve got lots of lovely things, lemon lump, strawberry slime, or maybe you’d like some grapefruit goo?”
Nicky didn’t like the sound of any of them.
“Could I have some lemon lump please?” he said, hoping it didn’t taste as gross as it sounded.
Mrs M took a large jug from the fridge and placed a glass on the kitchen counter. As she lifted the jug, Nicky saw her move a finger to her nose and poke about in her nostril. Then, using the same hand, she held the glass, steadying it as she poured.
Nicky took the glass and examined the thick yellow sludge. Thin green strands of fibre were suspended in the gloop and around the rim, hideous greasy smears of congealed snot. There was no way he’d be able to take a sip without gagging.