I was born in 1951 in Grimsby, England to a Ukrainian father and a Welsh mother. A very fiery mix! When I was four years old, we moved to Nottingham where there was a Ukrainian community, my Dad wanting me to grow up surrounded by his fellow countrymen…and other exiled family members. So I now had Ukrainian aunts and uncles as well as my Welsh grandmother and her huge family.
Our family’s social life was dominated by two things: Ukrainian activities and letters from “home”.Yes, it was always called that even though it wasn’t mine, or my sister’s home.. but it was our father’s. And his longing for the woods and fields of his childhood, not to speak of that for his mother and sister, were palpable.
The other great gift my parents gave me was a wide access to books and some of my earliest memories are of favourite stories and disappearing into yet another adventure on the page. I created comic books as a little girl and wrote short stories and poems as a teenager.
Then came University and a Philosophy degree, followed by a teaching certificate in English and Drama. I have to admit I loved teaching English.What more could anyone want than to excite youngsters about the power of words and story?
And that, apart from my own family, has been my passion…words, words words.
So writing When Sorrows Come was terrifying but hugely exciting. When I was writing Driven into Exile I wasn't sure I could complete a second book, but I did and that story led me onto write the third novel, Bread and Salt. These three novels form the "My Lost Country" series.
I am enormously grateful to the people who have been willing to share their experiences with me and I am also indebted to the many writers whose works I read during the writing process.
If you wish to view the books I used for reference, please click here.