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I come from a family of cunning folk who’ve practiced the old British magic for hundreds of years. I’m a quirky, unconventional woman with an intensely strong connection to nature. All my life I’ve walked the Deer Trods of Elen of the Ways. She is the Ancestor, the Lady of the Boreal Forest.
I grew up in the old shamanism of Britain.
Dad was a wise man from Lancashire; he met and fell in love with Mum before WWII but I didn’t come along until shortly after the end of the war. My mother’s mother was a witch from the Isle of Man but I never knew her unfortunately. Mum passed over into the Summer Lands when I was four years old but I remember her well and sometimes she still comes to me if there is a need. After Mum’s death, we lived on Dartmoor with me learning the old ways from Dad and my relations as well as the village elders.
When I was eight we moved to settle in an ancient little village on the edge of Exmoor where the church is dedicated to the goddess Urith – the old spelling is Iwerydd. Dad fell in love again with the woman who had come as our housekeeper … her father had owned the house we now lived in … and they were soon married. My stepmother and her sister, Aunt Ida, were among the elder folk of the village – Aunt Ida owned the goddess’ sacred well which cured cataract and gave clairvoyance. I was still deeply involved in all the old ways, following the deer trods, along with the other young ones of elder folk.
As well as Dad, my stepmother Vera, and Aunt Ida, one of my uncles was a gardener who talked to his plants and taught me lots of biodynamic-like things. Another was a woodsman who could talk with animals who would take me out with him, teach me the wood-ways. I’ve seen him call a wild hawk to his wrist, or sit with a wild adder-snake coiled around his wrist. Many times I’d go with him to sit all night under a tree watching foxes, dormice, weasels, rabbits, badgers, hunting owls, and all the other night denizens of the wild woods.
I grew up in an environment full of everyday magic. I’ve also had and interesting working life including being a systems analyst and project manager of a big computer system in the Ministry of Defence where I met quite a few servicemen who also had the old ways in their blood. Then 30 years as a Transpersonal psychotherapist has given me a deep understanding of people. That’s been very useful for my novel writing, helping me able to develop characters in a rounded and believable way. Add in that my husband is particle physicist so I’ve been absorbing cutting-edge science with the cornflakes for 45 years, and you have an interesting mix!
Always living with otherworld, I’ve explored all sorts of magical paths and been fortunate to meet and work with some amazing people … like Lila Bek, Caitlin & John Matthews, Emma Restall Orr, C Maxwell Cade, Colin Bloy, Hamish Miller, Tom Graves, Paul Devereux, John Michell and many others during the 1970s and 80s.
When I’m not writing you might find me walking and wild-camping in the Highlands of Scotland, Exmoor, Dartmoor, or the Welsh mountains, Brittany or the Pyrenees; I know them all intimately and they add colour and realism to my stories. I love weaving magic and mystery together while still keeping sharp on characters and places, so I do my best to help the stories flow effortlessly and believably to gripping conclusions.
My bragging rights include dancing for Arlene Philips; taking contemporary dance class with Robert Cohen; flying in Jaguar fighter aircraft; doing plasma-physics at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy; and being kissed by Mick Jagger! I often tweet on environment, ecology and animal cruelty issues.
I love cats, eat paleo, and my motto is If the cat and the boyfriend disagree get rid of the boyfriend!
Warm wishes from between the two lights,