Welcome to my website. I very much hope you enjoy your visit.
While you are here, you might like to read my Blog about a writer’s life lived amongst a menagerie of animals. There is not only my flock of rare breed Cotswold sheep, but also a colourful collection of chickens and an extremely vocal collection of dogs.
You might also be curious about the Egyptian theme of the website? I have come to realise there is an Egyptian thread that runs through much of my work, so having an Egyptian feel to the site seemed appropriate. But why Egypt? Maybe it is in my genes?
The Egyptian Connection
My connection with Egypt appears to originate with Admiral Robert Mitford, my great-great-great-grandfather. Mitford was in Egypt sometime around 1811 and fell passionately in love with all things Egyptian. He was an extraordinary man in many ways – but I won’t go into that now. He certainly passed this passion for Egypt on to his daughter, Margaret and her growing family, the Tyssen-Amhersts of Didlington Hall.
Not only did the Tyssen-Amhersts become renowned collectors of Egyptian artefacts, but they sponsored excavations too. My great grandmother, Lady William Cecil, even ran her own excavations at Aswan. It was at Didlington Hall that the young Howard Carter took his first steps to Egypt as he spent time amongst their large collection of Egyptian artefacts. In 1891 the Egyptian Exploration Fund (now the Egyptian Exploration Society) was searching for a talented artist (though ‘not a gentleman’) to assist with the British-sponsored archaeological survey of Egypt. It was the Tyssen-Amhersts who suggested that Howard Carter would be perfect for the position. Howard was just 17 years old when he set off for Egypt.
Introducing Children and Young Adults to Egypt
It is not surprising perhaps, that Egypt provided the inspiration for Nile Cat, a novel for Young Adults. This was published on 28th October 2020. To my great delight the book received an Editors’ Choice Review by the Historical Novel Society. It has also been short-listed, or been a Finalist in several competitions, including The International Rubery Book Award, and The Wishing Shelf Book Awards. Most recently it has been announced not only a Finalist in The Page Turner Book Awards but Nile Cat has now also been Longlisted – which is very exciting and so encouraging…!
It has always been extremely important to me that when I am recreating Egypt, in whatever time period, that I try to get the details right. I want anyone who reads Nile Cat, or another in the Nile Mysteries Series, to feel at the end of the novel, that they have not only enjoyed a good ‘page turning’ story – but they have learned something about Egypt along the way.
Egypt also features in my ongoing project, a biography of the Tyssen-Amherst and Mitford families – to see how I’m getting on, do keep an eye on my Blog.