I have always wanted to be an author. As a child, I wrote ‘Me and my Baby Clanger’s Adventures in the Tardis’, an unsung work of genius inspired by my TV viewing habits. I thought that when I grew up I’d spend my days imagining characters and their adventures. Sadly, after gaining an English degree I couldn’t quite work out how to put that plan into action. In an age when creative writing was still deemed unteachable, there weren’t many suitable courses. Besides, I had money to earn – what with the McClements trust fund being a half-eaten packet of dry-roasted peanuts and some loose change my mum had found down the back of the sofa.
I accidentally found myself working in PR (to be honest, I didn’t really know what it was at first, although if you’ve worked in PR, you can probably understand that that wasn’t really an issue) and journalism. Career highlights included:
- Working as the fashion editor for a dance music magazine in Glasgow. As I didn’t have a home computer at the time, I wrote much of my copy on those bits of cardboard you find in tights packets (to which I applied star-shaped stickers for extra pizazz).
- Working on Budweiser’s sponsorship of the World Cup in Paris (which sounds glamorous but actually involved breaking up fights between Daily Record competition winners on the Champs Elysee at 5am)
- Organising a press call with entertainment titan Lionel Blair (who genuinely is the nicest man in showbiz).
- Ghost-writing a website for TV design guru Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen (the lack of comment between these brackets is of no significance whatsoever)
- Spending six years writing for the books pages of FT Weekend, including my own column on debut fiction, putting together seasonal reading previews and guides. I also wrote lead reviews, features and all the audio book reviews too.
- Authors I reviewed for the FT included Doris Lessing, Irvine Welsh, Margaret Drabble, Monica Ali, Ben Okri, Ann Patchett and Isabelle Allende – among many, many others.
- Freelancing for the books sections of newspapers like The Guardian, The Observer, The Independent, The Herald, Scotland on Sunday and The Telegraph.
- Interviewing authors for The Herald, in Scotland, including Vikram Seth (please can I point it it was a subeditor who described his book as a novel in the stand first, when it was actually a memoir?), Alan Hollinghurst (again, the headline was not my doing. Sad face), Hari Kunzru, Ma Jian, Jonathan Coe and John Fuller – among many others.
- Writing a chapter, on adolescent narrators, of Time Out’s 1,000 Books to Change Your Life.
With my husband, 11-year-old daughter and Zuchon, I live in Brighton, where I now run my own eco content writing business – because I’ve come to the conclusion that trying to keep our planet habitable is more than a bit of a thing.
In my spare time, I write middle grade stories for children and am currently enrolled on The Golden Egg 12-month programme for Writing for Children and Young Adults programme.