I was born in York in the north of England in 1974. My very excellent mother taught me to read when I was three thereby spawning a voracious bibliophile. My childhood was mostly uneventful, mainly an extended search for caterpillars in hedgerows and a lot of rounders, and then I studied English Literature and Language at London University. I graduated in 1995 and began a career in the commercial side of information technology. This was not an obvious choice for an aspiring writer but I wanted to pay the bills and needed to live a little. It also had the advantage of giving me the opportunity to meet a huge variety of people in a vast amount of places doing a wide range of different jobs over the years and demanded I hone my listening skills.

I found I had a specialist instinct for building businesses and whilst this satisfied some of my creative impulses, my desire to write continued to grow, culminating in a move out of London to Chichester to regain control over my free time and be near the sea. I discovered not long after that it was both possible and financially viable to work a three day week and write for four. Happy days.

I wrote my first novel, Thirty Seconds Before Midnight under the tutelage of The Literary Consultancy‘s Chapter and Verse mentoring program which helped me with the craft and confidence to write Rich in Small Things and Riding a Tiger all by myself. I am now working on my fourth novel which I hope to release towards the end of 2013.

I also run a writing group and a book club in Chichester. I am particularly fond of llamas and tortoises and am addicted to Scrabble. If you would like to contact me, please do email me at

Half a Dozen Star Jumps by Helen J Beal