Most authors will tell you that writing is something they always wanted to do, and I am no different. But when I was a child, avidly reading any stories I could, I was given to understand that ordinary people didn’t become writers. To be an author, I believed, you had to be someone special, almost like a kind of royalty.
It took me much of my adult life to realise this wasn’t true. I became a print and broadcast journalist, including seventeen years with the BBC in the north-east of England. I still wrote fiction in my spare time, but didn’t have the confidence to show it to anyone.
The turning point came when I started a Creative Writing PhD at Newcastle University, under the supervision of Jackie Kay and the international children’s literature expert Professor Kim Reynolds. The children’s novel I wrote as part of that PhD, The Serpent House, was published by Curious Fox in 2014. In the meantime, I gained the confidence to show more of my writing. My adult suspense novel In Too Deep was published by Legend Press in 2013 and a second novel in the genre, This Little Piggy, in October 2014.
I’ve since also had (traditionally) published a short novel for reluctant readers, My Cousin Faustina (2015) and a novel for teen/YA readers, The Misper (2018).
I have won several prizes for short stories. I write under the name of Bea Davenport.
I’m very passionate about teaching creative writing and about the notion that it can be taught well. I’ve taught on a range of modules at traditional universities and sometimes run my own courses tailored to the needs of groups or individuals. I’m also an evangelist for distance learning, which I feel improves access to education for so many more people. In 2016, I became programme leader for creative writing with the OCA.
My particular interests include children’s fiction, crime/suspense, creative non-fiction, historical fiction and fantasy. But I have very wide-ranging tastes!
I also teach journalism at Leeds Beckett University, but go home to Berwick upon Tweed, on the border between England and Scotland, to be with my family at weekends.