won the Lefty!


I was born in Edinburgh and lived there, in Ayrshire, in Dumfriesshire and in Galloway before moving to California in 2010. I don't know how they did it, those early emigrants who set off forever from Leith docks. I'm back home every year for a couple of months and I still can't watch Burnistoun without sobbing.

A born swot, I finally left school at age thirty with a PhD in linguistics from Edinburgh University. Proper jobs have included banking (hopeless), library work in local studies and fine art (marvellous), and a short burst of academia (miserable). I'm now a full-time writer and hope never to have a proper job again.

When not writing, I'm reading, gardening, cooking and baking, cycling in Davis, running through walnut orchards, getting to grips with this outlandish and enormous country (43 states visited so far!) and practising an extreme form of Scotch thrift*, from eating home-grown food to dumpster-diving/skip-surfing for major appliances.

*when "making a living" as a writer, thrift helps a lot.

I like:

Dr Who, Jane Austen, Stephen King, Kathleen Jamie, meat pies (see left), kittens, violin music, Vicki Feaver, Stavangerflint, Doris Day, Star Trek, watermelon juice, sparkly things that aren't necessarily vampires, vampires, Gardener's Question Time, The Dress Barn, The Wire, Jenny Diski, Mary Higgins Clark, my PT Cruiser (RIP), Arbroath smokies, Dorothy Whipple, the Gulf Stream, the cha-cha-cha, Joyce Carol Oates, Mr Giles the librarian's green Fire King cup, The Sugarpine Diner in Mariposa, the Avid Reader, the new Forth Bridge, the new Bay Bridge, sisters (real, in crime, or scissor), donkeys, Hermione Grainger, rain, the London Underground, barkcloth, Cush Jumbo's eyeshadow, Sarah Waters, Mishka's, Junior's cheesecake, Terry Gross's laugh, Nancy Wiegman [for pointing out that I didn't have Agatha Christie, Dorothy L Sayers, Margery Allingham, Ngaio Marsh and Michael Innes on here] the Milky Way, The Gilmore Girls, Hawaii, okra, Mrs Wilkes' Boarding House, the Grand Canyon, ironing, PayDay Bars, all the worlds in the multiverse where PayDay Bars are healthfood . . . . to be continued