I am a musician, turned writer.
The moment I took pen to paper came when I read the first page of John Fante's 'Ask The Dust' and realised Fante had stolen the idea for his opening pages from Knut Hamsun's 'Hunger'. If he can do it, I can do it too-that was my thinking.
I learnt a lot from writing my first novel, 'The Naked Sommelier'. I remember a first writers' meeting-an Arvon Foundation week around my fiftieth birthday, when I couldn't show my writing to the tutor! A breakthrough was winning a free read from The Literary Consultancy afterwards-thanks Arts Council!-where I received a nine page critique from published novelist Amanda Smyth. It was the greatest advice and helped to overcome a crippling lack of confidence. I joined the second year of the creative writing programme at The Writers' Place in Brighton, Sussex, UK some time after that and, by then, I had realised it wasn't about me-it was about the writing. I even managed to pitch to agents at Winchester Writers' Festival and had a little interest which fell through. When I heard an author say it took her twelve years to get her first novel published, I realised time was not on my side and directed my energy towards being an indie author.
I live in Budapest, Hungary right now. In part, to help to write my second novel, The Artists' Club, but I've also wanted to live here for a long time-ever since I visited central and eastern Europe many times during my musician days and whilst I studied for a degree in ethnomusicology at Goldsmith's College, London.
I love the dance house, or táncház in Hungarian. I'm fortunate to live five minutes walk away from a regular Friday club in downtown Pest. My favourite musicians come from Magyarpalatka. My favourite writer, and biggest influence by far-John Fante. In particular, 'Ask The Dust' but also 'Dreams From Bunker Hill'. And how can you love Fante without Bukowski? I love those guys. I love those writers from the west coast and I love film noir.
When I'm not writing or going for a walk, I'm trying to learn Hungarian folk dancing. Or trying to speak Hungarian. Sometimes both at the same time.