About me

Current news is that my new book is being launched on 19 November 2016, in Bucharest.

That aside, my big problem is that I have more ideas than I could possibly pursue in a lifetime. My little brain spits out ideas like a snow machine, every flake glistening with promise. I exaggerate wildly, but you get the picture. My big problem is not the idea splurges, but the following through and turning them into something useful. That I’m not so good at. But helping people with ideas, that I can do.

I’m also a competent writer, a reasonably engaging teacher, and I make a passable cake.

From the phrasing of the last paragraph, you might twig that I’m English. I hesitate to say anything more self-aggrandising, but I hope others might say it for me.

My name is Arabella McIntyre-Brown; for 20 years I lived in the 2008 European Capital of Culture – Liverpool – and before that in London for a decade. I was born in River, West Sussex, and till I was ten I had a Swallows-and-Amazons existence mucking about in orchards and woods getting wet and muddy and falling out of trees. At 19 I got a job as a dresser at Chichester Festival Theatre where I took a glove back to Ingrid Bergman every night, amongst other delightful tasks. Heady times which gave me a taste for name-dropping.

Then I went up to London. I worked for Byron’s publisher John Murray, and the Arts Council. There was dressing Nigel Hawthorne at the RSC, and dressing assorted singers at English National Opera, and falling in love with opera in the process. Then I tootled off to Athens for a year teaching English and cemented a life-long love of Greece which began when I was seven. After that there was the Transglobe Expedition, a chamberful of barristers, Thames TV, and Camden Lock.

In 1988, tired of London, but not tired of life, I decamped with the cat and the sink plunger to Liverpool for no good reason other than it was love at first sight. No job, nowhere to live, nothing but a conviction that this where it was at. Amazing city, especially in 1988 when it was close to the lowest ebb of its fortunes. Became editor of a business magazine, then two more. Won awards, then quit to write a book. Liverpool: the first 1,000 years outsold everything bar Billy Connolly when it came out at Christmas 2001. It beat Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Ali G and Delia. Unbloodybelievable. I could be seen lurking in Waterstones watching people taking my book off the shelf, and had to fight myself not to bound across the shop and offer to sign it.

Wrote more books, published others. Then my sister, my mother and three other family members died within 14 months, after which I knew that the only sensible thing to do was to move to Transylvania.

Which is where I now live, in a remote village 3,500ft up in the Carpathian Mountains. I have a busy life, feeding the neighbours’ chickens (all the fun, some of the eggs, none of the responsibility), being barged by sheep, nudged by horses, told off by black redstarts, bounced by dogs and managed by cats. Only the cats live chez moi – the rest come visiting because I feed them.

Before I moved out here, I was in deepest Wales for a year, during which I wrote 300,000 words of crime fiction, which won some awards online. I developed the Freemagination workshop, and am nearly ready to publish the book; there’s also a short YA mystery set here in Transylvania in progress. I told you, too many ideas. But they’re all progressing.

And there we are. A steady, carefully-planned career, as you see. But the course of my life, as straight as a springer spaniel’s route through long grass, has given me a saltspoonful of knowledge about a googol of subjects, and the lateral connections are probably what gives me ideas. You are welcome to rummage about in what remains of my brain, and I’ll be delighted to give you all the help and encouragement I can.

Have a rootle through the site, leave comments, point me at resources you’ve discovered, let me know how you’re getting on, and please click the follow button so you keep getting other people’s wise words and my inane witterings. We used to spend family holidays at West Wittering. Can’t remember ever getting to East Wittering. But that’s another story.

12 Responses to About me

  1. Cor Blimey – that has to be the best and most interesting About me I have found on Worpress so far, . respect, respect and Transylvania? Nearly at the end of Dracula on My Kindle I have visions of bats,wolves forests and the odd gloomy castle somewhere nearby. You have also pointed me in the direction of some interesting reading too ….”proto-CID man Pyke of the Yard in 1840s London” as I am currently researching the 1840s for my proto historical crime novel. Love that phrase “trivium” too. Will be following your blog with great interest as its already helped me………

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    • abbspepper says:

      Lovely comment, thank you! Transylvania is probably not what you’d expect – it’s light and fresh and green and beautiful, not dark and spooky at all. Delighted to know you’ve found something of use already – look forward to more comments from you.

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      • Hi again – well thanks for the heads up on Andrew Pepper, just finished his first book – Last Days of Newgate- and really enjoyed it. Its set in a time period close to my story so it was well worth the few shekels I paid for it. Actually think I may have crossed part of Transylvania on part of a European hol and journey from Prague to Budapest. We stopped in Bratislava and I really liked the place. Ok back to more research now but the more I read and the more I talk to people the better my story will be.I have already revised the beginning and indeed the entire style. Need to go to London for some final research then I have the long days of Winter to write………

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      • abbspepper says:

        I think Bratislava is in Slovakia! You’d have needed to divert a bit to cross Transylvania on that route, but you weren’t far off. Hungary used to own large chunks of it, but it’s all Romanian now.
        Glad you enjoyed Andrew Pepper – I haven’t read them all yet, so I have more pleasure to come.
        Don’t do what I do and over-research to the point of never actually writing… but have fun in London. I hope you plan to be down by the river – Bermondsey and the City still have a lot of old London hidden away by the water’s edge.

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  2. Hi , I am joining the Blog Awards Trail and have nominated your blog for an award – VERY INSPIRING BLOGGER AWARD. If you havent seen this yet you can read more about it on my blog, if you have already done this or you are not interested thats ok!

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    • abbspepper says:

      Mike – that’s really kind of you – much appreciated, thanks!

      Very happy New Year, and all possible best wishes for your writing.

      I’m planning dates for early March, and as I owe you a vastly overdue workshop, I’d like to give you the first option on a date to suit you, between 1-8 March. Name your day, and I’ll fix a workshop in Manchester (south end).

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      • Hi Abbs – Happy New Year to you too. See you are now in California .Went there back in 96 staying in Annaheim, right behind the Disney park for two weeks. I have travelled extensively throughout the U S of A and have to say I found California and Californians to be very odd and very diff to all the other states. Mind I have heard many other Americans say much the same.

        Ok March is good for me. I am retired now so dont have to worry about juggling work schedules. My house move and agonies are over. I am now settled into my new home in the Derbyshire hills just above Glossop. Look forward to both meeting you and attending your workshop. The timing is good for me too.I still need to get down to London and visit the Public Records Office for some vital Court data. after that I really must get going with my writing. 2013 is going to be the year of my first ( but not last) nov.

        Mike

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      • abbspepper says:

        Great news, Mike. Thanks for sticking with me! I’m doing dates today and tomorrow – I’ll check with you first before posting them to make sure the M’cr one suits you.
        California is the only state I know, and people, circumstances, attitudes are so varied that it’s quite a fairground ride seeing my various friends and new contacts. Good for inspiration and entertainment, though.
        Glad pressures have eased off for you – now you can enjoy the writing process.

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  3. sangeorgiu says:

    Hi Abbs, thanks for dropping by the Sangeorgiu blog. We must meet up at some time and make a cake of ideas. There are plenty here in the Meses too. Strangely, I have a Springer Spaniel. Kindest regards. Kate

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    • Abbs Pepper says:

      Are you going to the Transylvanian Book Festival next month? In the Saxon villages – Richis and Biertan – between Sibiu and Sighisoara.
      cheers
      Abbs

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      • sangeorgiu says:

        Mike mentioned this yesterday, will work out the logistics over weekend, certainly something high on agenda

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      • Abbs Pepper says:

        Good-oh. Lucy the organiser wasn’t 100% she’d get the bookings to go ahead, so by now she should know one way or another, and we can make plans. There’s a chap called Christopher Lawson in Iasi who wants to come as well. A local writing posse.

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