SWWJ membership is open to professional workers in literature, drama or journalism anywhere in the world.
On these pages you can find out about some of our current members.
With a background in research and investigation, Denise writes biographical fiction; non-fiction; stage plays and screenplays – both under her own name and as DJ Kelly. Her books include Running with Crows: The Life and Death of a Black and Tan and Buckinghamshire Spies and Subversives. She reviews books, films and plays and regularly contributes articles to local, national and international press and journals. As a volunteer researcher for several local history and heritage groups, and a trained and experienced public speaker, she gives talks on various subjects to diverse community groups. She publishes with Titanic Press.
Sue has ghost-written two books: A Twitch in Time, the autobiography of Carry On star, Jack Douglas, and Pitkin's P.A. My Life with Sir Norman Wisdom, on behalf of Sir Norman's Personal Assistant, Ann Axe, and her own first novel, Gold Digger, is soon to be published by Mardibooks. She has also had several poems published and won Freelance Journalist of the Year Competition 1999/2000 in Writers’ News magazine.
Sue now offers talks to various groups, such as the U3A and the WI, about the Life of Sir Norman Wisdom.
Pamela Birley VICEPRESIDENT COUNCIL MEMBER
Pamela Birley, who writes professionally as Bradley Bernarde, joined the SWWJ in 1986 and was voted onto the Council as Minutes Secretary in 2003. After a year she became responsible for outings until, in 2005, she accepted the position of Honorary Secretary. Since relinquishing this post in April 2014, she has been SWWJ Chawton House Library Liaison Officer, which includes responsibility for the Society’s silver trophies on display at Chawton. Apart from having published three novels, The Apothecary’s Gift, To Thine Own Self and Pas de Deux for a Cop, and a number of short stories, Pamela has worked professionally as an editor, proof reader and a reviewer of both fiction and non-fiction.
Vivien Brown COUNCIL MEMBER
Using her former name of Vivien Hampshire, she has had more than 140 short stories published in UK women’s magazines, and around 250 articles and children’s book reviews in professional childcare and nursery publications. Vivien has also published a book called How to Crack Cryptic Crosswords, has contributed crosswords to The Woman Writer magazine, and runs a small business compiling cryptic crosswords which clients commission as unique personalised gifts. In 2013, she gave up her ‘day job’, working with children under the age of five and their families in children’s centres and libraries, to concentrate on a full-time writing career. She is now a full member of the Romantic Novelists Association, with two works of women’s fiction, written as Vivien Hampshire, available to buy as e-book novels via Amazon. She has recently re-invented herself, changing genre and using her ‘real’ married name of Vivien Brown, and has recently signed a second two-book contract with Harper Collins Publishers who published her debut domestic drama novel, Lily Alone in both e-book and paperback in 2017. Her second novel, Five Unforgivable Things, was published in Summer 2018.
Two new novels are due out in 2020.
|Twitter Vivien Hampshire||Twitter Vivien Brown||Blog|
Francesca Burgess was born in Sussex but has lived for many years in Kent. A history graduate and former teacher, she has had short stories published in magazines both in the UK and abroad, and also a serial. She's been placed and shortlisted in a dozen national writing competitions.
In 2016 she was shortlisted for the Wells Festival Children's Book Competition with a YA novel. Each month she writes a competition post for the Romantic Novelists' Association's blog. A member of the RNA's New Writers' Scheme, she writes both contemporary and historical novels. Stories of hers have been published in three anthologies: 100 Stories for Haiti, Diamonds and Pearls and 7 Food Stories from Rome.
She also writes the occasional poem and non-fiction piece. Writing originally under her married name, she now writes under her maiden name, Francesca Capaldi.
Carol Cannavan COUNCIL MEMBER
Carol has a background of editing and producing trade magazines for the plumbing and heating industry. Titles included P&HE Magazine, ETM and HIP Magazine. She also worked on Sparks Magazine, which was distributed to college students studying electrotechnology. Previous to that she had over 30 twist in the tale stories published in magazines such as Best and Take a Break. She also co-wrote a children’s book for a commercial company. Since retiring from working in the plumbing and heating industry, Carol has published A Career in Plumbing, which is available as a paperback and ebook from Amazon. Presently, Carol is the editor of The Woman Writer and is a Fellow of the SWWJ. Follow Carol on Twitter at @PlumbCareer
After studying politics, Gillian began her writing career on Parliament’s House magazine. A stint at BBC radio & TV followed, before she began writing articles for newspapers and magazines, here and abroad.
She then switched to authoring factual books, and her first commission was a guide to the hidden delights of Suffolk. Book No 2 took longer than planned to appear, but eventually she convinced a new publisher that her work would be original; readable; would reflect her interest in health issues and include personal experience. The Essential Guide to Arthritis was born.
She’s stayed in the health arena, although now she focuses on our cute furry friends: the stars of her series of animal-health guides. Pets are sadly getting the same illnesses as we are, so there’s lots of material for her to mine. She’s tackled arthritis (of course) in cats & dogs, and canine epilepsy. Being around pets is not exactly a hardship for her; clearly it’s inspiring. She describes them as ‘the best creative un-blockers’ she knows.
While she’s largely staying with non-fiction for now, under the name of Lucy Carrick she recently published a short fictional work, The Brexit Cat, on Kindle. Her next book: How to be the Purr-fect Cat Parent: A feline wish list, is set for publication in early 2020.
Born in Poland, Barbara studied German Philology with English at Humboldt University in Berlin.
When teaching children, Barbara found that telling stories to her pupils accelerated their ability to learn. Barbara was then inspired to write her first book, Cartwheeling Chestie Nut, about which Mrs Pip Otton, Headteacher of Laburnum Grove Junior School, Bognor Regis, wrote “I was impressed by the way the book so clearly promotes the use of speech in a charming way that would appeal to children, both boys and girls […] The charming story could certainly switch uninspired children back on to reading.”
Barbara then published Nic and His Nutty N’Uncle and Giant’stalestold and has since followed these up, in 2015 with Nic’s Nutty N’Uncle and The Giant Tells More Tales.
Benita Cullingford COUNCIL MEMBER
Benita, retired LAMDA teacher/ festival adjudicator, is the author of British Chimney Sweeps (2000/2001) and Chimneys & Chimney Sweeps (2003, 2012). Hon treasurer of SWWJ and WGGB member, Benita writes novels, plays and films. She has had three plays performed at the Abbey Theatre, St Albans, while her one-act play, Pick Up, was broadcast in New York (cd available), and produced by the Zeitgeist Theatre Company at the Bedford Globe, Balham. Benita's feature film, Portia's Penguin was optioned by UNITAL Films at the Screenwriters' Festival (2007) and reached the semi-finals of the International Screenwriting Competition, LA (2013). A dvd is available of Smile Baby Smile, a short film produced in 2013.
Valerie Dunmore VICEPRESIDENT
Valerie wrote regularly for both Horse & Rider magazine and Pony magazine for many years. She wrote a monthly page for Prediction magazine for 21 years, until it folded, on dream analysis and answered readers’ letters on their dreams. She did many live broadcasts on TV and radio on dreams. She has had articles in Horse & Hound and Writers’ News. Her first book Side Saddle Riding was published in 1978, written with a colleague. Subsequently she has published two books on dreams – an Illustrated Guide to Dreams and Dream Healing. Her latest book School to Music is available online, comprising a handbook in pdf format together with 3 downloadable music files. She has also revised and re-printed her grandfather’s 1911 book A Guide & History of Nevin, Morfa Nevin and Edern. She is also a poet, her first published poem being in her school magazine.
Beth loves speaking different languages and travelling to out of the way places. A Welsh mother and a Lancashire father mean she has a complicated mix of imagination and practical common sense. She took a degree in French Language and Literature and later a Master’s degree in French Stylistics. After a teaching career in several countries, she settled in the Thames Valley. Settled, that is, except when the travelling bug takes her. An excuse for this is that she has published a number of travel articles, some of which have won prizes.
Her Regency Tales are stories of intrigue, adventure and romance, with a few real people in among the cast of characters who find themselves caught up in events rather outside their normal lives. She hasn’t yet put Napoleon in a story, but he’s on the waiting list. On the principle of ladies first, especially in the Regency era, Lady Hester Stanhope played a small but vital role in Scandalous Lady.
From her own experience of life in Turkey, Beth likes to add a touch of exotic to some of her stories. But adventure and romance can just as easily occur in London, Bath or Brighton.
For more information, visit her at the following links.
Ann Evans has been writing most of her adult life. She says it began as a hobby and somehow became a way of life. She writes for children, teenagers and adults, as well as articles for a variety of different magazines. For 13 years Ann worked for the Coventry Telegraph as a feature writer, writing about her favourite topics – food, animals, gardening and travel. She runs a regular writing workshop, and goes into schools running workshops and giving talks on writing.
Elaine Everest is the author of the bestselling Woolworths Girls series of books for Pan Macmillan.
Born and brought up in North West Kent, where many of her bestselling historical sagas are set she is celebrating over twenty years as a freelance writer. Elaine has written widely for women's magazines and newspapers with short stories, serials and features. She was shortlisted for the Harry Bowling Prize in 2012; The Festival of Romance in 2013 and was BBC Radio's Short Story Writer of the Year in 2003, as well as runner up and shortlisted in numerous other competitions.
Elaine's non-fiction writing has led to her being commissioned for three non-fiction books for dog owners, writing columns for specialist canine publications and broadcasting on canine and writing topics. A one-time commissioning editor of a technology publication taught her about work on the ‘other side of the writing page’.
She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association (where she manages the one2one appointments for their annual conference), The Crime Writers’ Association, and The Society of Authors. When she isn't writing, Elaine runs The Write Place creative writing school in Hextable, Kent or is planning retreats and ‘writerly’ outings with her friends. She lives with her husband, Michael, and their Polish Lowland Sheepdog, Henry, in Swanley, Kent.
|Facebook Author Page|
Barbara Field-Holmes VICEPRESIDENT COUNCIL MEMBER
Barbara began her writing career in 1974 when she went to work as a reporter on NewsShopper, a ‘free’ weekly newspaper series in the North Kent/South London area, quickly stepping up to look after all the editorial content. She then moved on to realise her ambition to work on consumer magazines, working on Prima, Home Improvements Journal and Ideal Home magazine – mixing sub-editing with feature writing. Following this she moved to B2B publishing, working on a number of successful market-leading titles in the construction industry, covering the heating, ventilating, plumbing, bathrooms and kitchens markets, first as an Assistant Editor and then Editor. During this time she was the launch editor for Bathrooms magazine (1986), as well as a number of supplements on specialised topics.
After 25 years in the B2B marketplace, Barbara moved into PR for three years before taking a six month career break at the beginning of 2009 to adopt her son. Barbara set up her own company, Bigg-In Words Ltd in September 2009 and offers a mix of public relations and editorial services. Clients have included some prestigious manufacturers/suppliers from the heating and plumbing industry, and now mainly comprise smaller, local companies and two steadily growing cancer support charities, The Chartwell Cancer Trust and the CCT Tiger Ward. Barbara has been an SWWJ member since 2011, joining Council in 2012 as Editor of The Woman Writer. She became the Vice Chairman in 2014/15, and subsequently served as Chair for four years, stepping down in September 2019.
Patrick has had more than a hundred books and countless articles published. He writes across a wide field: business, careers, self-help, also: humour, travel and, most recently, he has just had a novel, Long Overdue published. He is a member of two writing groups and active in the “writing world”; he writes regularly for Writing Magazine and speaks (and runs workshops) on topics including writing technique (especially non-fiction) and also on writing as a business, selling your work and allied skills such as public speaking.
Patrick has recently been appointed SWWJ honorary consultant for Marketing.
Doreen Friend COUNCIL MEMBER
Trained in journalism at an East London newspaper group, Doreen was a staff reporter working on a busy newsdesk, mainly covering crime, writing hard news, features and a variety of items. She was promoted to Chief Reporter and eventually became News Editor. Later she was employed as a Public Relations Officer for two local authorities - one Labour council and one Tory council. Doreen began writing short sketches and one act plays some years ago as a way of relaxing; a number of her plays have won awards in Amateur Drama festivals, and her full length play, Normal Shoes, directed by Martin Cort, was performed at the Cockpit Theatre NW London in 2014. Doreen is working on an anthology of short audition pieces for actors to use when they attend auditions, and has a number of other projects in the pipeline. After writing for a variety of newspapers, editors, publishers, magazines, directors and actors she finds that she can write to order when requested.
Dee, originally from the East End and now living in Southend, writes mainly non fiction books about Essex and the East End, but does have a couple of novels and a poetry compilation out there. She is passionate about the inclusion of disability in novels and about the proper use of the apostrophe! Next release, for April 2019, is Struggle and Suffrage in Southend on Sea, published by The History Press.
Roberta’s first hardback novel Abigail’s Secret, was finally published in 2008 after many rejections. Her eighth hardback, Duty and Deception, is due out soon. Roberta also writes short stories and articles, as well as Pocket Novels. These have since been re-issued as large print paperbacks. Her articles have been published in This England, Best of British, Sussex Life, Bygone Kent and The Countryman.
Roberta is secretary of Chichester Writers’ Circle and editor of the Chichester Literary Society’s newsletter. She has also given talks and workshops on writing.
Rebecca Harding COUNCIL MEMBER
Rebecca served one year as Vice Chair of the SWWJ and took over as Chair in September 2019. She writes business publications and articles, and appears regularly on a BBC radio chat show. She is by trade a business development, marketing and communications professional with her own business, Saltwhistle. Her clients range from multi-nationals such as Deloitte, PWC and WPP, to charities and SMEs. She has clients across the world, from New York to Auckland, as well as Birmingham! Previously, Rebecca was responsible for communications for Andersen, working across Europe, the Middle East, India and Africa. She won a highly commended award as a Non Exec Director in the Institute of Directors "Director of the Year" awards and was an elected politician.
Although she lives in France, Jenna Hines hails from Liverpool. A born romantic, she has now followed her dreams, writing historical romance. In 2009, Jenna published her debut novel and is currently working on her eighth novel, Stolen Moments. She has recently published Candle Trees, a romance with a Paranormal Theme, set in Western Australia.
Jenna also writes short stories for children and has compiled several of these in two illustrated books. Her articles have appeared in many publications, both in the UK and France. She writes poetry and some of the work is featured in her poetry book, Scribbling Siblings.
Beatrice, a retired teacher, has been writing with modest success for fifteen years. To date she has had two adult novels and several stories published, as well as children’s stories. Four of her plays have been performed, including a commissioned historical work.
Besides being a member of the Society of Authors, and Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, she is also a member of Phrase Writers, a very active and supportive writing group.
Before Patricia joined Walton Wordsmiths she had written or adapted sketches for charity performances. Since then she has written and had performed four full length plays, produced numerous short stories and longer pieces.
She lives in leafy Surrey with her husband and a spoilt cat and has four children and three grandchildren. When not writing she enjoys going to the theatre and ballet, art history lectures and being with friends and family.
She is a volunteer with Macmillan Cancer Support and a member of the Wives Fellowship. Her debut novel, Threads of Life was published by SCRIPTORA in March 2018. The next big adventure is a full-length play on the life and works of Jane Austen to be performed in November.
Sylvia Kent VICEPRESIDENT COUNCIL MEMBER
Journalist Sylvia Kent is a columnist and author of ten books and five anthologies. Awarded Freelance Writer of the Year via Writing Magazine, she researched SWWJ history and the resulting book, The Woman Writer, was published by The History Press in 2010, coinciding with the centenary of the birth of former SWWJ President Joyce Grenfell. Sylvia's contribution to the Society have included roles on Council as Overseas Liaison (9 years) and Publicity Officer (5 years), and she is now SWWJ Archivist. She enjoys regular radio appearances on BBC Essex, Book Club on Phoenix 98fm and occasionally on national BBC. Currently working with Brentwood Gazette, Essex Life and speciality magazines, Sylvia is also Billericay Museum Trustee, VP of Brentwood Writers’ Circle and Essex Book Festival patron.
Karen King writes for both children and adults. She has had one hundred and twenty children's books published by a range of publishers, including Walker, Scholastic, Random House and Harper Collins. She writes in all genres and for all ages, including teens. She also writes romance novels under the name of Kay Harborne. She was a lecturer on the MA Professional Writing course and the BA Illustration course at the University College Falmouth for many years. She is now a creative writing tutor for distance learning and adult learning.
|Website and blog|
|Amazon UK Karen King||Amazon UK Kay Harborne||Amazon US Karen King|
|Amazon US Kay Harborne||Goodreads|
Lesley Lawson Botez
Lesley is a writer and psychologist specialized in helping companies and individuals build bridges. Her relationship guide, Holding Out for a Hero, Five Steps to Marriage Over 40 was published by Bedroom Books end-January 2015. Packed with exercises and anecdotes, it is the indispensable guide to finding love over 40. Lesley was runner-up in the 2014 Geneva Literary Award for non-fiction. Her short story, First Choice was published in Offshoots and her mini play based on the same characters, was performed by the Geneva English Drama Society in April. She lives in Geneva.
Jane Lockyer Willis
Jane trained as an English and Drama teacher at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama. She has written over 20 stage plays:both full length and one act. She also writes for radio and has had both, staged and broadcast.
Jane is always on the lookout for theatre companies who might be interested in mounting her plays. The one acts are good for festivals; the longer ones for a night's entertainment. Most are light and aim to amuse.
Full details are available from Jane’s website. If you are interested, please get in touch.
Fay has been a member since 1988 and was Poetry Representative on the Council for six years. She currently does poetry critiques for the Society, and is poetry editor for Scriptora.
She has had a variety of articles and short stories published, but poetry is her main interest. Her work has appeared in leading magazines and anthologies and the BBC’s ‘Poetry Please’ programme. Her own collections are: ‘and’, Envoi, 1990 (under the name Fay Chivers); ‘Mapping the Debris’, National Poetry Foundation, 2000; and ‘After the Battle’, Scriptora, 2010. She has been active in translating contemporary German, French and Russian writers.
Natalie writes contemporary and historical romantic fiction. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association (RNA), having graduated the organisation’s New Writers Scheme at her first attempt. She now has three published books, most recently Escape to the Cotswolds with HarperCollins HQ Digital. She has in the past few years sold over thirty short stories worldwide. In addition Natalie is a commissioned contributor to the RNA blog.
Dawn's first success was with a short horror story published by Telos Publishing in a charity anthology entitled Shrouded by Darkness. Since then, she has had short stories published in various women’s magazines as well as in sci-fi, speculative fiction and horror anthologies. Her fourth book – an anthology of speculative fiction stories, entitled Extraordinary, will be published in August 2017. Dawn has written two plays about the First World War, one of which has been performed in England, France and Germany. The other will be performed on 11 November 2018 to mark the centenary of the end of the Great War.
Born in Lancashire, Freda Lightfoot has been a teacher, bookseller and in a mad moment even tried her hand at the ‘good life’ as a smallholder in the English Lake District where she kept sheep and hens, planted a small wood and even learned how to make jam. She has now given up her thermals and spends winter in Spain, where she enjoys walking, or just sitting in the sun on the rare occasions she isn’t writing. And spends the rainy summers back in the UK. She has published over 48 novels including many bestselling family sagas and historical novels. Find out more on her website or blog. You are welcome to join her on Facebook or Twitter where she loves to chat to readers.
With a background in Nursery Management and Education, Anna began writing after several humanitarian visits to Mexico City, researching the plight of the street children.
She subsequently set up her own children’s book publishing company and her first novel - Chavos the Kids of Distrito Federal – fiction based on fact is now being adapted for stage. Chavos The Musical is expected to go on tour in early 2019.
Anna has plans for several books in the Chavos range and is already onto the third in the series.
She has also launched a series of picture books for younger children - Rianbo’s Travels - based on her nursery logo, a colourful rag doll.
Collaborating with television, radio and a children’s magazine in Spain Anna launched an annual writing competition for kids aged 9-13.
She spends her time between overseeing business interests - Rainbow Childcare Yorkshire Ltd – which she founded 30 years ago, and working with Author’s Abroad to deliver her creative writing workshops to key stage 2, and of course writing herself.
Margaret writes short stories for the ladies' magazines as well as the longer novellas for D C Thomson in their People's Friend and My Weekly range of books. Her back list is currently about half way through the process of being put on Amazon. She also writes slightly longer short stories - about 10,000 words - for the fiction specials for Woman's Weekly - usually cosy crime.
Daniela I. Norris
Daniela I. Norris is Canadian-Israeli, a former diplomat turned political writer and – with age and wisdom – inspirational author and speaker.
Her stories, articles and essays have been published in numerous newspapers and magazines. Crossing Qalandiya – Exchanges Across the Israeli Palestinian Divide, co-authored with Palestinian writer Shireen Anabtawi, was published in the UK in May 2010 by Reportage Press. On Dragonfly Wings: a skeptic’s journey to mediumship was out in April 2014 (Axis Mundi Books) followed by Collecting Feathers: tales from The Other Side (Soul Rocks Books, November 2014). Recognitions, first of a trilogy, is her debut novel, published by Roundfire Books in 2016.
Daniela is a Member of SWWJ (Society of Women Writers and Journalists, UK), GWG (Geneva Writers’ Group, Switzerland), The Society of Authors (UK) and Goodwill Ambassador for Children of Peace.
Pamela Payne COUNCIL MEMBER
Pamela started on the Marlow Times in 1969, followed by six years with Farnham Castle Newspapers. She founded an RAF newspaper which was transmitted to British Naval ships, and later rescued the failing RAF Henlow magazine.
Whilst living abroad she wrote for Financial Times magazine, Resident Abroad and, in Naples, ran an international writers group, organised a weekend school for the British Council and published an anthology, raising £4000 for charity.
She taught two weekly Creative Writing classes for Petersfield College of Further Education and published Voices of Petersfield and District.
Pamela joined the SWWJ in 1976 and served on the Council for 9 years, organising speakers and running the Thursday Workshops.
Cecilia ‘cut her teeth’ on writing features for magazines, mostly about history. She is an avid reader and a stickler for the written word, tending towards non-fiction rather than fiction, although she has published a couple of novels, one of which is for children. History Press published three of her books on local history and her latest, which has just been released, features a young airman who was shot down during World War II. She is a member of Brentwood Writers Writing Circle. Her involvement with Brentwood Writers has led her to speaking on local radio and contributing pieces to other people’s non-fiction books.
Mary Rensten VICEPRESIDENT
Chair of the SWWJ during its Centenary year 1994, Mary is still active on the Council, responsible for the Society's assisted-publishing initiative, SCRIPTORA.
A former teacher, she was a prolific free-lance magazine journalist in the 1980s and 90s, specialising in interviews with world-renowned writers, artists, actors and musicians. She is particularly thrilled to have interviewed Maya Angelou, Thomas Keneally and Cleo Laine.
Her feature on the Eden Project, A Vision of Eden, won her the SWWJ's coveted Violet Astor Rose bowl in 2002.
Also a dramatist, her work has been seen at the Edinburgh Festival and on the London Fringe. She has written radio plays and scripts for television, and plays, all of them published, for schools. Her first novel, Letters from Malta, came out in 1990; re-published in 2013 as an eBook, it reached an international readership. Although now in her eighties Mary is currently finishing her third novel and has a fourth at the draft stage; this one is set in the 1940s in Jamaica, where she was brought up.
'Writers never retire,' she says. 'There is always something to write about.'
Elaine Roberts lives in North West Kent and became a full member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association (RNA) in 2017 and the SWWJ in 2016. She enjoys attending events at both organisations and, until recently, she wrote a monthly piece on literary festivals for the RNA Blog. Although Elaine has sold short stories worldwide, her love is writing novels; she is currently writing historical family sagas. In March 2016, Elaine gave up her “day job” to concentrate on her writing and has been rewarded with a three-book contract with Aria Publishing, which she signed in November 2017. The first novel, The Foyles Bookshop Girls, is being published on June 1st 2018. All three novels are set in World War One London, and are about love and women’s friendship and support. She is now working on her second in the trilogy. Elaine runs a writing blog, called WriteMindsWritePlace, with writer Francesca Capaldi Burgess and is a great fan of writing retreats, either week-long by the sea with friends, or one-day retreats with fellow writers in her home town of Dartford.
Julie C. Round
A former Junior School teacher, tutor of dyslexics, and Liberal County Councillor, since retiring to WortJulie, a former Junior School teacher, tutor of dyslexics and Kent County Councillor, has been writing locally set novels since retiring to Worthing. The first, in 2007, was “Lane's End” about a man with learning difficulties. This was followed by “Unstable Lane” and “The Third Lane.” In 2014 Julie published a domestic thriller, again set on the South Coast. In “Never Run Away” a married woman leaves home seeking a new life. This was followed by “Never Pretend”, a story of music and lies. In 2016 she wrote “A Lesson for the Teacher,” a romance set in the 1960s. Julie gives talks to local groups and records with the Voice of Progress, a local talking newspaper. She is a member of two writing groups, Sea Scribes and Worthy Words.
Jill lives by the sea in East Sussex and has had six books published plus a book of short stories. She went to Japan for a holiday and fell in love with the people and culture. This changed her life and she went to live there for a year and didn’t come back for seven. She opened her own English conversation school which she ran for seven years. Her first book is a memoir of this time, Cherry Blossoms, Sushi and Takarazuka, Seven Years in Japan.
Her Secret Samurai Trilogy draws on Jill’s knowledge of Japan and its history and myths. It is a time-slip story of two female samurai and was voted one of the best Japan related novels of the year by Savvy Tokyo Magazine.
Tama, the Extraordinary Cat, is a true story of a Japanese cat who saved a railway company and became a goddess. It’s for children, but also for people who love cats.
Jill went back to her roots with her latest novel, a romantic suspense called The Rocking Stone, set in the South Wales mining valleys of the early 20th century.
Jill writes about strong female characters and says, ‘I want my books to be uplifting and positive where female characters are concerned.’
She belongs to several local writing groups as well as the SWWJ and Historic Novels Society. Her interests include history, Japan, reading, gardening, current affairs and walking her dog.
Amanda J. Thomas
Amanda Thomas specialises in social and medical history and has a background in journalism and media PR. Books include Cholera - The Victorian Plague (Pen and Sword History, 2015), The Lambeth Cholera Outbreak of 1848-1849: The Setting, Causes, Course and Aftermath of an Epidemic in London (McFarland, 2009), and the biography of the scientist Dr. Winifred Brenchley (deposited at Southwark and Rothamsted, 2006); she also contributed to Dr. Andrew Hann’s The Medway Valley a Kent Landscape Transformed (Victoria County History, Phillimore, 2009). Broadcast work includes The Flying Archaeologist (BBC4, 2012) and Who Do You Think You Are? (Wall to Wall Media/BBC1, 2012-13). Amanda is Editor of the historical journal, The Clock Tower, and Editorial Consultant to Harpendia magazine.
Hilary Townsend, from a family of yeoman farmers, grew up in Dorset. As a personnel manager in industry, and later lecturer in management subjects, she wrote magazine and newspaper features for UK and North American markets. Eventually, writing full time, she wrote Discover Dorset - Blackmore Vale, and Blackmore Vale Childhood (Dovecote Press).
Thirty years spent restoring her Dorset medieval/Tudor home resulted in Silk Hay – One Woman’s fight for Architectural Heritage. Her current book is about her extensive travels. She also writes magazine features and gives talks and lectures widely.