From as young as I can remember to about ten years old, my father dragged the family around looking for work, or trying to set up in business himself. In that time I must have attended at least six schools in the North West, and four schools in Liverpool. Living by Liverpool Anglican Cathedral gives me my most vivid memories; playing in the Cathedral cemetery and in bombed derelict buildings of the second World War, without realising the danger. But the big issue for me was the fact that learning was a personal problem; I was always in a ‘B’ stream class, and could never understand why most of the kids seemed clever and I was not. My father did not help. He would make me stand in front of him; he would give me a simple word to spell, i.e. black or back but, for some reason I always got them mixed up, so he chastised me which, of course, knocked all the confidence out of me. It was an ongoing theme: spell black or back, and today, those two words are indelibly printed in my memory. He died when I was eleven years old, but the damage was already done.

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I have always enjoyed writing but was put off doing it creatively in the past by needing to re-write each piece at least 3 times in order to get the basics correct; the grammar, spelling etc. It made my hands ache, to say nothing of my head! Then along came PC’s. This changed everything for me. To be able to type out what was in my mind without worrying about how it appeared on paper was wonderful! Of course, corrections and re-writing still had to be done but at a later time and even then, were not the chores they had been.

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I have been writing for most of my life. As a kid, I used to make my own little books and write my own words in them. When my children were young I used to keep journals as reflective diaries, and write my own stories for reading to them at bedtime. In quiet times like when any babies were asleep, older children at school and husband at work, I would sit and compose my stories for the children, or fill in my journal, which helped me to organise my thoughts and ideas, enabling me to reflect on my experiences.

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An only child, born in Lincoln, I grew up preferring football and cricket to studying. Whilst good at maths, I found English utterly boring, especially the ‘set’ literature works. However, I must have absorbed something as, at 14, I obtained two English and one maths ‘O’ level.

In the sixth form, a friend lent me John Wyndham’s ‘Midwich Cuckoos’ which immediately drew me into science fiction. I finally got the message: books are more than just supports for wobbly tables!

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Jennie is a group facilitator and now manages the website.