I was born and brought up in Ireland – Derry (then, alas, a city of murderous religious battles) and the more peaceful Donegal – and attended a peace-loving Quaker school, overlapping there with the actress Judi Dench. This background fostered my aspiration for reconciliation, spirituality and non-violence which run through my writing. Then came Oxford degrees in classics and anthropology, fieldwork studying story-telling in Africa (again influential in my writing, especially my novels and screenplays ), and university teaching in Africa, Fiji, Texas and England, all contexts for learning about ideas, about beautiful words, and, most of all, about people.
I am deeply inspired by music, love the countryside and the sea, and am a regular church attender (ecumenical). I have three daughters and five grandchildren, and live in yBletchley, “home of the code breakers” in southern England. with David Murray, my longtime husband.
A naughty little boy, banished from heaven for a misdemeanour, can return if he observes and records seventy times seven acts of real goodness on earth. He manages to bargain God (who actually rather likes his mischievous ways) down to seven. God laughs and agrees. But the little boy, filled with fear and misgiving, still has to go.
He leaves and lands on earth with a bump. Distraught, lost, hungry, and desperately homesick he staggers through the streets, lost in this new culture and longing only to return to heaven. He meets many down-to-earth folk, kind and not kind, but, oblivious of his own acts of kindness, naively sees only the good in them (and any biscuits to assuage his growing hunger are constantly elusive).
At last he finds a friendly church community ( meeting again one of the people he’d encountered earlier). Rather against his wishes – he is terrified of not doing things right – they persuade him to come into a service. To his surprise he finds himself joining enthusiastically in the jazzy hymns. Then they let him help with the after-service tea and – joy – the crunchy BISCUITS. As a result he startles everyone in heaven by opting to stay on earth after all – ”they’re imperfect, just like me ”. And after all – as God (who has his own unexpected reasons) laughs – CRUNCH!