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Biography

I did not expect to be a crime writer. Although I have always read a lot of crime and detective novels I always thought my work leaned more towards science fiction or horror so no-one was more surprised than I when “Death of the Elver Man” was short-listed for the Impress Prize in 2010 under its original (and rather insipid) title “On the Level”. Since its publication I have been working on the next book, “The Drowners”, and plotting out the last two books in the series and I have to say it is the most fun I’ve had in ages.

Whilst I was never a probation officer like Alex I do live with an ex-probation officer and in the 1980s did a lot of work with offenders and young people at risk. I have been a producer of educational programmes at the Tate Gallery, worked in accounts, had a very brief stint as a motorcycle messenger, been a teacher and lecturer and assessed and supported a large number of students with dyslexia and other learning difficulties. I currently teach psychology for the Open University, do some reporting for a local newspaper and try to keep my characters under control and following my nicely worked out plot. Sadly most of them get the better of me on numerous occasions.

A note about the setting.

The Somerset I write about is in many ways a lost world. It is the place I remember rather fondly from my time there and though geographically it is as accurate as I can make it, a lot has changed in the past 20 years or so. Some changes are for the better – areas of the Levels themselves are now rich sites for wildlife and rare plants and the industries on these precious lands are far more aware and responsible than in the past. The mix of people living in the towns has changed however and new hazards such as the flood last November (2011) may alter the fabric of the area once again.

The Carnival is still a major feature of life in the towns and if you have the opportunity go and see it for yourself. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

  • Roberta Smith

    Thanks to my dear grand-daughter, Mackenzie (your cookie-baking neighbor), I had the great pleasure of getting to know you last April over a “cuppa”. I was enthralled by both of your stories. And then to top it all off, you later gave me a grand tour of your charming home and beautiful stained glass. It was very nice to meet your dogs and cat as well.
    When I visited you with my offering of kale and chorizo soup, you started me on a journey of following the adventures of Alex Hastings. Since reading the Death of the Elver Man, I’ve written a review on your Amazon site and downloaded The Drowners to my Kindle Fire. Your courage to take on a new, creative venture is inspiring me to forge my own way down my “late-bloomers” path as a painter. I took a look at some of your past endeavors in writing and art and felt they had somehow paralleled my past career paths (instructional designer, docent at Art Institute of Chicago, adjunct faculty at Arizona State University).

    I’d love to visit Somerset sometime during Carnival, perhaps
    after I’ve sold a few paintings. I’ve had a lot of foot traffic thru The Coe
    House Gallery this month in Phoenix. I am working on the marketing and
    sales side of this goal but confess it does not engage me the way painting
    does. Oh! For the days of the “Art Patron” to come back! I may have promised to
    share this info with you when last we visited. There is an excellent course
    online entitled, “The Working Artist” (http://theworkingartist.com/) and I am learning the business side of all this. I must confess, I’d much rather spend time hanging out with artists like Jackie and yourself. Please stay in touch. All the Best – Bobbi

    Below is a pic of my latest oil painting and a link to my catalog.

    http://share.shutterfly.com/share/received/welcome.sfly?fid=9b6dd79d1f78e9846cdd16a80fdf8c46&sid=1BYtGrNuxZO_g

    • Hi Bobbi,
      It is lovely to hear from you and thank you for all your kind comments on the books. The new episode, “The Moth Man” will be out in August and I’m plotting out the fourth as we speak. I really liked your photobook – thank you for sharing that and I hope the exhibition goes well. I hope we will meet up again when you are over here next.
      Jennie.