Although my books are sometimes billed as ‘women’s fiction’, I’d say The Daughter Game is aimed at a general adult readership. It follows the story of teacher Anna who becomes over-involved with one of her female students, a troubled and unstable teenager called Kali. Anna’s personal life is an unhappy one, and she gains temporary solace from casting herself as this girl’s special mentor, unaware that Kali is a highly manipulative young woman. As Anna’s marriage breaks down, Kali moves in and starts a series of events that throws Anna completely off course.
I’m always interested in the power balance of relationships, the swings and shifts, the capitulations and gains. Also, I was a teacher myself for fifteen years, and I know the strains put upon pastoral carers, and the tricky situations that arise as you struggle to mediate between students, parents and other teachers.
An entertaining read, above all else. Though if there is a message to all my books, it’s that we should try our hardest to appreciate what we have rather than focussing on the things we don’t have. Easier said than done, of course, but essentially the secret of happiness is to be thrilled with the ordinary.
How do you think it compares to what you’ve written before?
It’s definitely more serious, though there are moments of comedy. The ending’s upbeat, but only by a whisker.
A year to produce the first draft.
I always write directly onto the computer, though occasionally I’ll scribble prompts on scraps of paper to get me from one scene to another.
Conventionally: married, mother-of-two, Midlands-based, ecologist manqué.
I’m currently working on a novel about grandparents’ rights. Last time I was on BBC Radio Shropshire I heard a woman speaking about her campaign to get access to her grandchildren, and I was deeply impressed by her arguments.
Always report mink and otter sightings to your county wildlife group.