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I've been drawing since I could hold a crayon - on paper, on walls, sometimes on my sister! At school I would find some reason to draw in EVERY lesson - not just art - especially when I wasn't supposed to. So, I suppose it was inevitable that I would end up at art college.

I trained in fashion but quickly got bored with all that glamour stuff (!), finding I could turn my hand to all sorts of creative tasks. I travelled the world, design studio to design studio, working in theatre, fashion illustration, trend-spotting, accessory design, shop windows, packaging, new product development, university lecturing and, finally, children's books. The children's book illustration was the most fun and, thinking it would probably be a whole lot more fun if I could write the words too, I had a go.

Ember Fury, my first illustrated teen novel, was published by Headline in 2009. It was Borders' Children's Book of the Month in September 2009 and was shortlisted for The Young Minds Book Award. Next I scribbled a darkly comic horror story about a teen ghost, Scarlett Dedd, which was published in September 2010. Scarlett Dedd was selected for the first Richard and Judy Children's Book Club and published in the US in 2012 by Delacorte. My third book, Verity Fibbs, a fast-paced thriller, hit the bookshelves in October 2011. The following year I published two books - Everything is Fine (and Other Lies I Tell Myself), a story of sadness, summertime and surfing (a real tear-jerker) and GRAPHIC, about teen artist Joe whose sketchbook drawings come true!
More recently I've enjoyed illustrating books by some wonderful authors like Melvin Burgess and Karen McCombie.
Then came a very exciting collaboration with the brilliant Jo Cotterill called ELECTRIGIRL. The first book was published in February 2016 (OUP) and the second, ELECTRIGIRL and the DEADLY SWARM, in August that year. In May 2017 book 3, ELECTRIGIRL and the INVISIBLE THIEVES, was released!

Things I LOVE . . .
Strong coffee, sunsets, starting a new sketchbook, old-fashioned roses, movies with subtitles, horseradish sauce, my studio, open fires, watching Netflix box sets, long walks in the Surrey Hills, hanging out with my nieces, sand dunes, cashmere socks, music that makes me cry, finding a bargain on eBay, raw carrots, teaching art, coral pink toenails.

Things I could live without . . .
Traffic jams, country music, coriander, dark winter days, the smell of wet dog, fireworks, cucumber, exams, football, doing my tax return, uncomfortable shoes, timetables, the dark, facing the 'wrong' way on a train, crowds, 'reality' TV, forgetting to back-up data, cupcake frosting (yuck!), surprises, lilies, fried eggs.

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2017! Yay!

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It seems my first ever book is still being discovered and enjoyed by new readers. This makes me very happy indeed, as you can probably imagine.
This week I was sent a 'Book Report' by a chap called Dexter (aged 9 and 3/4) and was delighted to see that he had chosen to write about Ember Fury. Turns out Dexter is a pretty good author himself. The report was really well written and I was pleased to hear that all my favourite bits of Ember Fury are Dexter's too. Instead of focussing on Ember's attention-seeking fire-starting or the crazy desert car chase with Finn, Dexter chose the scene where Em gave the chauffeur the slip and ended up in the comic book store as his fave (which was, incidentally, the best scene to write).
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Surrey Artists' Open Studios

What a glorious weekend!
The spectacular weather has really shown off my new studio. The light has been wonderful, the perfect gallery space. The garden looks pretty great too. I've been asked for contact details of my landscaper, Jeff Roots, by LOADS of people and then yesterday he turned up with his family to see the fruits of all his hard work (and my planting, obvs!)

I had lots of visitors over the first two days and can't wait 'till next Saturday. I'll be open 11am - 5pm on the 11th, 12th, 18th & 19th June, so come along if you can. HERE for details of all the other studios, maps and trails.