A to Z of Authors
Ally Begg is a life-long Aberdeen fan, having grown up in Newburgh, Scotland. A former member of the 90′s boy band, Bad Boys Inc., Ally has since forged a career in sports broadcasting. In a presenting career spanning 15 years he has hosted Manchester United TV, Celtic TV, Sky Sports News, Sky News, talkSport Radio, Setanta Sports and, more recently, ESPN Star Sports in Singapore. Ally now lives and works in Doha, Qatar, as a Senior Football Producer for beIN Sports, where he produces the network’s Premier League and Champions League coverage.
Ole Dammegård is a multi-artist and inventor, blessed with a family of five. He now lives on Costa del Sol in Spain. Also the author of Coup d’etat in Slowmotion, Yolanda Yogapanda and Re-Mind Me.
Heather Gartside writes about what she knows. Her tales speak with tinkling charm of a long and bittersweet journey in search of a sense of home. That twisting path took her from an isolated childhood in rural England, to the exuberance and self-expression of art college. From here, with youth, beauty and talent on her side, she moved to London and fell colossally into the arms of a mercurial artist. Escaping just in time, (from horrors yet untold) she fled to Paris and invented a new life as a designer who became, briefly, the talk of the town. Naturally, this fashiony world went arty and awry for Heather, yet through it all she wrote long, hilarious journals of her observations and her silly escapades. Paris ended in a puff of smoke, then from the smouldering ashes in walked love when she least expected it.
Heather rediscovered home, and from this lovely place she managed to avoid 9 to 5 work for many years; raise her three children, travel, relocate and decorate more houses than she’s had hot dinners. On the side she cooked and was inspired by cuisines from all over the world. She also exhibited her work as an artist, designer and sculptor in France, Great Britain, Norway and the USA. Behind all this living she continued to write. Recently gaining her spurs as an author, when in 2014 she published her first novel Rice Pudding in a Duvet, the journey home with snacks. Heather now works as an author, art teacher and tour guide and lives with her young family in Copenhagen.
Celia Honnywill enjoyed a privileged background – brought up in the English countryside with loving parents, ponies and pets, she lacked for virtually nothing. She dedicates Bloodlines to the memory of her adoptive parents Eleanor and Dick Honnywill to whom she says she owes everything – except her birth! Sadly, Celia died in her home town of Estepona, Spain in September 2009.
Her last words to her publisher were that the most wonderful moments of her life were at last finding her birth mother, her new family and seeing her book published.
‘I hope my book Bloodlines will encourage others to undertake a similar exciting journey.’
Dougal (aka Dr Volcano) has been picking up rocks since as long as he can remember. He has a BSc in Geology and PhD in volcanic rocks. He currently holds a Professor II position at the Centre for Earth Evolution and Dynamics at the University of Oslo and is a CBBC presenter for the science series ‘Fierce Earth’. Dougal is passionate about understanding our dynamic blue-green planet and sharing that knowledge in writing, broadcasting and teaching. A keen outdoor enthusiast, he has travelled the world in search of answers to its geological past and its active present, visiting many of the Earth’s extreme regions from Antarctica to Africa and beyond.
Merle King’s career has included drama school, TV and stage appearances, and teaching English and drama. She had her own theatre-in-education company which toured Manchester schools. She received an MA from Lancaster University in Theatre Studies and an MA in scriptwriting from Salford University. After full-time teaching, she wrote plays, articles and short stories which she read on local radio and which have appeared in magazines and newspapers.
Merle has lived in southern Spain since 2001. During that time, she has written for local magazines and had one of her plays produced by THESPA. She has also written a book, This Gypsy Life, based on her travels with partner Peter in a campervan round Europe. It has taken her a good five years to research, write and complete Silver And Time. Whether her family does come from Cordoba is another story.
Robina Lambert has lived in Andalucía since 1987. Inspired in her late teens by a language teacher devoted to Spain, its music and its customs, she studied Spanish then worked as a translator in London. When she moved to Southern Spain, she immediately felt this was where she belonged.
Settling permanently in Estepona and integrating happily with the local population, she continues to work as a legal translator and also writes articles and books about the culture and natural environment of Andalucía.
Dolmens and Duende is infused with Robina’s understanding of and affection for the region she has made her home. The book is not intended as a travel guide but rather a textual companion, something to dip into to deepen a particular experience or to provide a context for the rich cultural mix that is Andalucía.
Marion Leigh was born in Birmingham, England. After receiving her M.A. in Modern Languages from the University of Oxford, she worked for a year as a volunteer in Indonesia, then moved to Canada where she enjoyed a successful career as a financial and legal translator.
Marion now lives on the Costa del Sol, in Spain. She and her husband spend the summer in North America, cruising aboard their 20-metre powerboat. To date, they have covered over 15,000 nautical miles exploring the great Lakes and the Eastern Seaboard of the United States and Canada.
This is Marion’s first novel featuring RCMP Marine Unit Sergeant Petra Minx.
A fully qualified, Met office trained, weather forecaster with 20 years experience, Clare’s first love has always been weather and science. Her qualifications speak for themselves with a degree in Maths, Masters in Applied Oceanography and a Diploma in Environmental Policy.
During her ten years as GMTV’s weather anchor she was in charge of the output and production for science and weather stories. Today, as a freelance presenter she works for BBC North West and as a weather pundit on various TV and radio stations, including BBC Breakfast. She recently co-presented the much-acclaimed Children’s science documentary series Fierce Earth for CBBC, now in its second series.
Writing regularly for the Huffington Post on science and weather, and many other newspapers and magazines, including First News, the children’s newspaper, her love of science is accompanied by a wealth of qualifications, including a recent diploma in Environmental Policy.Clare is the ambassador for the National Campaign on Healthy Air, this involves working closely with environmental law firm, Client Earth, and speaking for the campaign at the House of Lords as well as other events and press interviews, she is also an ambassador for the Princes Trust. Clare lives in Manchester with her husband and 4 year old daughter Sienna. She is a proud member of the Cloud Appreciation Society and talks regularly at schools about weather, science and motivational issues.
Mark Nasir has spent his adult life writing and performing. Back in the 90′s it was all about indie music, sweaty venues and songs of angst. Now in his forties he still performs most days of the week but to a much different audience….Toddlers. He runs his own children’s entertainment business…Piccolos Music Club. And it is at his Music club where he finds the inspiration for his stories. Each tale has been tried, tested and fine-tuned on the youngsters that attend his daily sessions. His stories are either performed in song or have a musical theme and many lend themselves to paperback which is where Rudling House got involved. His first book, The Nosiest Band in the Land is a royal tale, with a punk rock twist. A delightfully illustrated book which will appeal to both adults and children alike.
Father of two, Mark lives in rural Bedfordshire, from where he operates his business, in between school runs. Born and raised in Milton Keynes for 30 years he made the short trip to over the county border and has been there ever since. His song writing took a distinct change of direction when his two daughters came along and needed entertaining. Silly songs and stories poured from his adoring heart which eventually formed the bare bones of today’s Piccolos set list.
Sarah worked for twelve years as a highly successful teacher of modern languages and Head of Department, also gaining an MA in Education, before taking a career break to start a family. She has since taken the opportunity to develop her passion for writing which began when, aged 6, she came second in a primary school writing competition. As well as being a busy mum, Sarah is also an avid reader, a reluctant runner and an eternally optimistic baker!
Sarah lives near Sheffield, on the edge of the Peak District, with her husband Andrew and their two beautiful daughters Emma and Sophie – the inspiration behind her debut children’s book, ‘A Sweet Secret’.
Amanda is a PhD candidate at the University of Bristol, within the Faculty of Social Sciences and Law, working as part of the Economic and Social Research Council funded Productive Margins project. Her research focuses on community activism and specifically how online tools can help active citizenship, engagement in decision-making.
Amanda has worked at the Houses of Parliament in a variety of roles; working for a government minister, as a parliamentary researcher and for a few years as fundraising director for the John Smith Memorial Trust - an international charity formed in memory of the former leader of the UK Labour Party. Over the last 20 years she has also worked for many British newspapers and had stories, letters or been featured in the London Evening Standard, The Times, Daily Mail, Guardian, Independent, Sunday People, The Mail on Sunday and The Sun. She has also written for some years on public policy and current affairs for leading sites such as Labour Uncut, Left Foot Forward, Labour List, Speaker’s Chair and the political pamphlet Southern Charm.
A former London Councillor, she was elected the London Borough of Merton’s first Cabinet member for Equalities and Social Inclusion, working across six local government departments, this included leading on the recommendations from the Stephen Lawrence Report. Amanda has also been nominated for selection to be a parliamentary candidate but these days her political activity is confined to social media and blogging, commentator and columnist, newspaper reviewer and broadcaster, on the radio and TV and writer.
Amanda was brought up in London. After studying in London, Plymouth and Bristol and working around the world, through five years in the travel industry, she is currently based in Bristol.
Amanda’s first novel is to be published in September 2015.
After receiving her MSW (Master of Social Work) degree from Washington University in St Louis, Missouri, Diana Reed Morris provided clinical and administrative social services in physical rehabilitation, psychiatry and geriatrics at three US academic health centers. During her career she enjoyed travel breaks, quilting, antique collecting and genealogy, and after her retirement explored the cities and countryside of Italy, England and Spain. She lives with her husband Jack in Estepona, Spain, where she is currently working on her next book.
Michael was awarded a National Diploma in Design with first class honours from Birmingham College of Art in 1954 and for the following thirty years he was Head of Art in four Birmingham Secondary schools. He left teaching at fifty-five to devote his time to painting, but seven years on, failing eyesight made painting increasingly difficult. His wife suggested he write a novel as it would be far less visually demanding but still provide him with creative challenges. He’d done odd bits of writing before and had poems, articles and short stories published in, variously, The Sunday Times, Mayfair, London Magazine, Private Eye and a short story broadcast on BBC. But writing a novel was something else and a great struggle but he persisted. An operation nearly a year later considerably improved his sight and enabled him to resume painting but by now he was loath to abandon his writing. So in between painting sessions, he continued with the novel, which, after much rewriting, was published as The Pig Bin in 2000. A year later it was awarded The Society of Authors’ Sagittarius Prize for Best Debut Novel of the Year by a senior author. Its sequel, Careless Talk, was published in 2007, and was short-listed in the International Rubery Book Award in 2011.
Michael’s paintings have been exhibited in several galleries nationwide including the Mall Gallery in London; the Nevill Gallery, Canterbury; the Helios, Birmingham; the Driffold, Sutton Coldfield and the Park View, Kings Heath. His oil pastels have been reproduced in the Artist magazine, and in 1995 he won the Artist magazine cover competition. He has worked for Romanian Challenge – a children’s aid organization – as graphic artist, fund raiser and general factotum, and worked briefly as carer and teacher in the huge children’s orphanage in Siret, north-east Romania, the inhuman conditions of which Anneka Rice revealed to the world in the early nineties in BBC’s Challenge Anneka. This year, he plans to do a free-fall parachute jump for a children’s charity.
Mavis still sees herself as an ordinary girl from Bolton in the North of England, but doesn’t deny her life has been challenging. She never calls herself a sick person, just someone who has been sick. A person nevertheless who is managing her own life. She doesn’t have cancer now and, ‘Believe me,’ she says, ‘I’m not going to worry about whether I should be worrying. In my story I take you to the darkest corners of my soul but as I hope the cover shows, I bring you back to the sunshine.’