I’ve always wanted to be a writer and have scribbled obsessively for most of my life. I’m good at letting life distract me, but have managed some success in publication of short stories in magazines and online. However, I am more naturally inclined to the novel as a form. I like being able to create a whole world within which my characters can slowly unfold their stories and move along a bumpy circuitous road to resolution. My first novel, WIRE ANGEL, was completed as part of the MA Writing at Sheffield Hallam University and was taken on by a literary agent, though not in the end by a publisher. Part of my initial motivation for launching this website was to be able to share WIRE ANGEL even if I can’t sell it. My second novel is nearing completion, and much of my blog is about the ups and downs of being a woman writer pushing to finish this novel against the competing demands of life, family and paid work.
My urge to write has its origins in my favourite childhood pastime of make-believe and day-dreaming (heavily influenced by whatever I was reading). This has been augmented as an adult by an addiction to chatting and the endlessly fascinating exchange of life’s stories, alongside a healthy dose of setting the world to rights. Writing fiction provides a framework, the stories the raw material, to examine the myriad ways people attempt to make sense (or not) of the particular life they have been dealt and how they place themselves, or are placed, in a wider social and political context. Contemporary urban Britain provides much of the landscape for my fiction, inhabited by characters many (though not all) of whom live on the margins of mainstream society.
I am a great believer in at least a part time day job as a way of engaging with the world out there, and as a source of raw material for writing (to say nothing of a regular, if small, income). Among other things I have worked as a waitress, watermelon picker, report binder, playworker, cleaner, community worker, information officer. I am currently working as a senior customer advisor for the local authority.
I chose to be a single parent of my twenty-year-old son and have frequently proclaimed the unsung benefits of this method of parenting. But then I fell in love and have been living with my husband, son and stepdaughter (now living independently) for the past twelve years.
I am surrounded, like most people, by life’s limitless, not always pleasurable, distractions. Still I try to make time to write and I use this website to provide me with the impetus to speed up progress on my latest novel, and to be a connection to the world outside the lonely business of writing. This novel follows the search of an 18 year old young man for his sperm donor father and looks at issues of parenting and the search for identity in the context of, you guessed it, contemporary urban society (with a large dose of the North West Scottish highlands thrown in).
My stories were published under my real name, but I am now using the pen-name Penny Frances, as my real name is impossible to pronounce or spell without prior knowledge.