A bit about me...

I have always lived in the same small market town in rural Wiltshire where history is marked in the buildings and hidden alleyways. The beautiful landscape is rich in legends so exploring the countryside is like visiting a fairy tale. This is lucky since I’ve always loved fairy tales, my favourite is The Princess and the Pea. I still love my Ladybird edition with its beautiful pictures, especially the princess with her soaking wet inky hair.

Doodling, drawing and reading have always kept me busy. I wrote and illustrated a book for my youngest brother when I was fourteen. The person who inspired me most in writing was my Nan, Dorothy Caswell. She wrote beautiful letters, in both her handwriting and the way her voice actually spoke from the page. She used to tell me all sorts of stories about the past, from her time growing up and her world. I imagined history through her.


My favourite era is the Tudor period. However, I am very grateful to have been born in a time of hot water bottles and central heating because I am always cold. I have the most well-travelled hot water bottles, they come with me everywhere! I took one to Australia and another to the Maldives. I cannot sleep without one.


I love exploring old cemeteries but I’m always cautious and look up into the trees to see if a witch is looking down at me because of the stories of Lizzie Dripping by Helen Cresswell. Gravestones are fascinating, they make me long to see the faces of the long forgotten people.


Apart from witches in trees, I am also scared of frogs and toads. I was chased by a frog, when I was about eight, from the fruit cages in my grandparents’ garden all the way to the house. It felt like miles, I can still feel the frog’s hungry breath on the back of my legs.


The first time I escaped the countryside to visit London I was almost twelve. I remember being excited and terrified in equal measure, I’d never been on an escalator and had to be taught how to use one! I’m still not comfortable in big cities, all that rushing about and the worry of getting lost. However, it’s worth the anxiety to visit Pre-Raphaelite paintings. Ophelia is my favourite, I always wonder how poor Elizabeth Siddal coped laying in a bath heated only by candles!


Always a keen baker, I have a passion for making and decorating cakes. I am often to be found in the kitchen dripping in icing and very happy until tidying up when I realise how much mess I create when creating! When my children were small I used to stay up until the middle of the night decorating canal boats, the seven dwarves in bed, crinoline ladies with icing skirts and teddy bears’ picnics.

Except for running from frogs, I am not a natural athlete, but I can throw myself around to music and I can manage spin class. My favourite exercise is yoga. My lovely teacher, Sally, also teaches meditation which is incredible and very insightful. It’s amazing to look into your own mind, to find the secrets locked inside and it helps me think of new stories. www.sallytrotman.com/home.

"Things I love..."

• Weak tea and cake.

• Amazing books, especially 'The Enchanted' by Rene Denfeld or 'The Keeper of Lost Things' by Ruth Hogan.

• Brilliant films - my recent favourite is 'The Shape of Water'.

• Fairy Tales.

• Misty hills and walks but not too much going up as I tend to moan a lot about aching legs.

• Hot Water bottles.

• Places - West Kennet Long Barrow; The Big Belly Oak in Savernake Forest and Adam’s Grave.


I cup my ears to cut her words and feel Nag bubbling to life in my hair. “Tell her!” says Nag, her words popping like froth burbling on the river. “Tell her that she’s wrong.”

- from 'The Tale of the Merph Snatcher'