Like the title character in my debut, The Continuity Girl, I am an Anglo-American. Born to an English mother in Amarillo, Texas, I moved to the UK when my American father was stationed in Oxfordshire with the USAF in the mid-1970s. Unlike my older brother, I was sent to a local rather than a base school, and very quickly went native. I eventually gained a PhD in English Literature at the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-upon-Avon. For the past 14 years, I have taught English to secondary school children in an inner-city comprehensive in Coventry.
Long a fan of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories, I contributed one of his own, ‘The Doll and His Maker’, to MX Publishing’s SHERLOCK’S HOME: THE EMPTY HOUSE, an anthology of pastiches put together to raise funds for the preservation of one of the author’s former homes. As well as writing fiction, I am a keen poet. I was short-listed for the Bridport Poetry Prize in 2012 and long-listed for the Fish Poetry Prize in 2013.
9 March 2018
THE CONTINUITY GIRL
‘A wistfully entertaining romantic comedy spanning forty years of social and cinematic history, which offers a hommage to one of Billy Wilder’s greatest films and does it proud.’ Jonathan Coe
1969. Hollywood descends on a tiny Scottish village for the making of Billy Wilder’s most ambitious picture yet: a sprawling epic detailing The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes. But the formidable director and his crew soon come into conflict with Jim Outhwaite, a young scientist seeking evidence for monsters...
2014. Stuck just a short walk from the East London street where she grew up, ambitious Film Studies lecturer Gemma MacDonald is restless and hungry for change. A job offer in the Highlands seems to offer escape – but only at a cost to her relationships with family and an equally ambitious American boyfriend.
Then a lost print of Gemma’s favourite film turns up, and with it, an idea…
'He’s recreated, almost without flaw, the milieux of the pre-Brexit UK and late Sixties Scotland, specifically the Loch Ness set of Billy Wilder’s lost classic The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes. I can vouch for this accuracy – I was there behind the scenes of that picture.' Paul Diamond, screenwriter and producer
'After a few weeks of reading sick serial killers and twisty domestic noir this is like a ray of life affirming sunshine. And now I want to watch Wilder's film again.' Robert Ryan, author of the Watson at War series
'The Continuity Girl has enough sparkle and fun on the surface that we are carried along, almost without realising, with the deeper questions about how we tackle life’s big decisions, and decide what really matters.' Anna Caig, Sheffield Telegraph