A life in words

When she is in Staffordshire, she spends a lot of time with her extended family, whose company is priceless.

When she is in London, she regularly complains about the traffic, noise and pollution, but that is part of belonging there.

Victoria grew up in “trade”. In Wednesfield, where she was born and spent her toddler years, her mother ran a haberdashery shop in the village. The family moved to Leicester, where they had a china shop. Victoria loved to help her mother – packing tea sets and dinner services, dusting and pricing up. She also helped her Uncle Victor count the takings ready for the bank. She still recalls those piles of huge pennies with great pleasure.

When she was nine, the family emigrated to Australia and later New Zealand. Returning to London at age 13, the family were very mobile: Baron’s Court, Pimlico, Ealing and Hounslow. Her teenage years were spent enjoying books, films, market shopping – and dogs. She studied singing with Eve Boswell, the popular 40’s entertainer. She was confined at home for much of this time, with lengthy and painful knee operations.

Victoria graduated with an English degree from University College London, then qualified as a teacher at London University. She taught English, Creative Writing and Drama at colleges in Hounslow and Twickenham for the best part of two decades, and this was a happy career. When ill health forced her to give up teaching, she turned to the other thing she felt able to do – and became a full-time writer, producing features on show business and the arts for magazines.

This second career was also a happy one, and she interviewed some famous and fascinating people: Wendy Craig, Edward Fox, Richard Attenborough, Margaret Drabble, Felicity Kendal, Susan Hampshire, Timothy West – to name only a few. For some years, she had a weekly book programme on local radio and edited a lifestyle web magazine.

Nowadays, she gives talks and signs books to various audiences: in libraries, Women’s Institute meetings, history groups, schools and colleges, and diverse local gatherings. Her subjects include: her writing adventures, researching modern history, biography writing, dogs – and a combination of all these.

She is the author of five books (so far). In chronological order:

Simon and Garfunkel: the Definitive Biography – published by Macmillan in hardback and paperback, then by Fromm International in the USA. It is now available as a Kindle book.

Hounds At Home, (written with her co-author and friend, Hilary Johnson) – a collection of stories, depicting the ups and downs of adopting greyhounds, something Victoria has vast experience of. It sold well, with all proceeds donated to dog charities. Having sold out of the first edition, Victoria and Hilary published a second edition, which is also very popular.

A Thousand Steps – a book of her poetry, a project which was in the pipeline for many years. Victoria contracted cancer in 2011, and had a long period of recovery. This altered her view of life, and she decided to seize the day and get her poems out there.

Doggy Mixtures – a delightful collection of stories about dogs and their relationship with people. Many breeds of dog appear in this book – some of them are hilarious, some sad – and some very surprising indeed. This is the ideal book for a dog lover – or for anyone remotely interested in dogs.

Gathering Rosebuds – a second anthology of poetry which focusses on the bonds of family, growing older and the diverse women in her life.

Victoria is, in her mother’s words, “a city girl” but does love her garden. To be honest, she doesn’t actually like gardening, but she loves sitting on her bench, watching the dogs play and the birds flock to the bird feeders.

She and her husband David have several rescue greyhounds, who love her singing to them, approve her choice of music at all times, enjoy watching television, especially whodunits – and are generally very good company.

Victoria still loves history, reading, music, television and theatre. She feels that life would be utterly impoverished without BBC4. She is a passionate supporter of animal charities, loves antique jewellery – and thoroughly enjoys socialising with her highly entertaining family and friends.