I was born into a working class Jewish family (yes, we do exist!) in north London and became active in radical politics in the 70s.

In 1982, I went to Grenada and lived there on and off for the following four years, experiencing the revolution, the coup and subsequent US invasion and aftermath. For full details, see my Revo Blog.

On my return to London, I worked as a finance officer for Jewish Women in London (an oral history project) and Women Focusing (a national women’s photography organisation) and took a diploma in photojournalism at London College of Printing. Together with two friends on the course, we formed a photojournalism collective, working in the not-for-profit sector. Over the years, I also had jobs as a shop assistant, farm labourer, life model and wig maker – amongst other things …

I moved into the Shangri-La Housing Co-op in Peckham in 1989, providing the setting for my subsequent novels. Sadly, we had to move out of the co-op when the council repossessed the properties to turn them back into family homes. I was seven months pregnant at the time. As a result, the council had to re-house us and we moved to East Dulwich in 1995.

Soon after my second son was born, I joined the East Dulwich Writers’ Group although I had no previous experience of writing fiction apart from an abortive attempt to crack the women’s magazine short story market several years earlier. (Each story would start sweet enough but then gradually turned dark and twisted. Clearly my inner voice calling out …) I wrote Nirvana Bites in the evenings in long hand lying on the settee and then typed it up in chunks using borrowed laptops, fitting it in round working as a part-time finance officer and wedding photographer, as well as parenting two young children.

Eighteen months later, I had my first book deal!

Debi on Twitter

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