About me

About Me_Helen

I was born and grew up in a small town called Weymouth, on the south coast of England. My family was from Wales, and I inherited from them a love of stories. As a child, I spent most of my time  either reading or writing. From an early age I started making books with my own stories and pictures in them. I took this very seriously, and was quite determined that I would be a writer when I grew up (I knew I was never going to make it as a ballet dancer, athlete or pop star).

 

Here are some of my earliest attempts:

 

About Me_Books

In the end, I didn’t become a writer – at least, not straight away. I went to Newcastle University in the north of England to study French and Spanish, and in between being a student there I spent time in France, Spain and Cuba, where I learnt to dance salsa very badly. After graduating, I trained as a secondary school teacher and headed out to Mexico City with an open ticket and no job. Luckily, I found a job (teaching French in an International school) and ended up staying there for four years, before returning to the UK to do a Masters in Film and Television Production at Bristol University. After a lot of fun helping young people in Bristol make films (but not making much money), I returned to teaching for a few years, working with refugees and asylum seekers and then teaching Spanish at the University of the West of England.

During this time, I met Thomas Docherty, who had recently started illustrating his own books. It was Tom who encouraged me to start writing stories again, and we co-wrote the book Ruby Nettleship and the Ice Lolly Adventure (Templar, 2010). In the summer of 2011 I wrote my first ever rhyming story, The Snatchabook  (Alison Green Books, 2013).

Tom and I got married in 2008 and we now live in Swansea, Wales, with our two young daughters and a kitten called Cadi.

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Looking back, I’m glad that I ended up learning languages, living abroad and working for many years as a teacher… before I finally grew up and became a writer!

Here are some of the things I like best, in no particular order:

  • The smell of gorse by the sea

  • Sorbets (blackcurrant, raspberry, mango; any flavour really…)

  • Going for long walks in the country or by the sea (especially if they end with an ice cream or sorbet)

  • Swimming outdoors – but only in the summer

  • Visiting castles (we have lots in Wales)

  • Reading stories to our two daughters

  • Reading on my own

  • Learning new languages – I’m learning Welsh at the moment, with a bit of help from our girls

  • Food from all over the world: Japan, Mexico, Indonesia…the list goes on

  • Playing table tennis – I’m no good at it, but I love it anyway

  • Dancing (mostly in the kitchen these days)

  • Listening to live music

  • Watching films (especially road movies)

  • Playing with Cadi the kitten

Visit Thomas Docherty’s website