I was born in Dundee, to the sound of cranes in the now defunct shipyard, but went to school in Broughty Ferry and now live there with my husband, and the cat. I have three grown-up children and two baby grand-daughters. I have my great-great grandfather, a prolific Dundee poet who scribbled away by gas-light , to thank for passing down his writing genes to me and my son Matthew
At Grove Academy, I sailed through my Higher English(and not much else) at the age of sixteen, and was delighted to land a job as an editorial assistant on DC Thomson’s Bunty, a popular magazine for girls. At the interview, us applicants were asked to write a short story off the cuff about three old men on a park bench. However, I was allowed to give this a swerve. That was because the managing editor at the time had read my bits and pieces of poetry published in the local People’s Journal, and that appeared to satisfy him that I had writing ability.
Dawdling out my last few weeks at school, I thought I’d swot up on the world of comics, and, not knowing which one I would be assigned to work on, I was surreptitiously reading a Beano under my desk in the English Class. Alas I was soon rumbled by my English teacher, a prim elderly lady who was more into classics than comics. On demanding to know why I was reading such low-life literature, I told her I was about to begin working on such. ‘REALLY?’ she hissed. ‘That’s what I call a waste of a good pass in Higher English…’
But DC Thomson was a great training ground for young writers, and I was soon writing scripts in house for picture stories, moving on later to the nursery papers where I concocted ideas and wrote scripts for characters such as Baby Crockett and Nurse Nancy.
After some years, I went free-lance, and wrote picture stories for both DCThomson’s children’s magazines, and IPC’s in London, at one point turning out an episode a week for six picture story serials. With the gradual demise of such, I turned my hand to various other genres of writing, and am now writing children’s books.
About writer's work
I am interested in writing humorous picture books with a Scottish slant, and have had two cartoon style books ,The Story of Clan MacWee, and The Story of Clan Mingin published. My third clan book,The story of Clan MacBleat, will be out in the middle of March.
Also about to be published is a fourth Clan book I’ve written, about whisky. (But this one is for adults) My two latest books have both been illustrated by Keith Robson. I am currently working on a different series of children’s books.
Some years back, I won a Sunday post Scottish bed-time story competition with a story entitled Donaldina’s Dumpling. This involved a perishing cold old wifie who made a dumpling to warm herself up,but added too much baking powder,causing the dumpling to rise up and fly out of her kitchen window..
I have also won a Writer’s News writing competition which had the theme Don’t count your chickens. My angle was a woman who stashed baby things in her attic in the hope of becoming a granny. (I wasn’t one at the time!)
One of my poems,titled ' Bingo' featured on one of this year's Scottish Nation Poetry libraries post-cards for schools
Current events and projects
I am available to read my picture books to very young children- and to the 5/8 age group. I give the children a lot of participation in a story as it proceeds, making sure they see the illustrations clearly and give them plenty of chance to air their views and give their own thoughts and ideas which spring from the story-line,also to act it out. On the 4th of March I visited Blairingone Primary School, near Dollar. Three other small primary schools in Perthshire came for the day, ie.. Stralloch school, Logie almond School, and Glen Lyon School. I read Clan MacWee and Clan Mingin to the younger pupils there, and had them giving their own input into the story- lines..and participating in several ways.( It was a bit a double act, as my son Matthew was busy doing a work-shop next door with the older pupils.) I gave each of the teachers a work-folder with a copy of a Clan Book for their school library and ideas how to get the children inventing clans of their own, etc. Not so recently, I spent an interesting St Andrews day at a school in Forres, Morayshire, which was doing Clans as a project leading up to St Andrews Day, so the head teacher asked if they could use the Clan Books to tie in with this. Prior to St Andrews Day, the pupils emailed me separately, asking questions about the Clan Books, as they were writing their own versions- even the youngest pupils making up Clan Characters and drawing them as well. I emailed them back individually, as I felt that was important. At the school, I visited some of the classes, discussed my books, answered questions, and later enjoyed watching them dressed up as their chosen clans, acting sketches which they’d concocted themselves. At the end of this I presented awards for the best sketches and best clan get-ups and talked to the entire school. I then received through the post four completed clan books written and illustrated by Clan MacWheest, alias primary six, complete with IBSN on the back, and all very good and highly imaginative. Furthermore they wrote to their local library to ask if they could have a display of their books, and this they did.
Purrrfect Scottish cats ( Black and White publishing 2004) ISBN 1-902927-95
Grrrrreat Scottish Dogs(Black and White publishing 2004) ISBN 1-84502-0197
(two books of limericks portraying famous Scottish people as cats and dogs)
As Ali Christie, humorous poems and limericks in the following: King of the Midden (Itchy Coo) Bletherton Braes (Itchy Coo) Fit like your Majesty?( Aberdeen council and Reading Bus) Nae Bather Ava! (Aberdeen council and Reading Bus) The Magic Pizza. This humorous poem in Scots has been on the BBC Education Scotland’s Scottish Resources website and is often recited along with other well-known Scottish poems for Burns competitions.