Raised in London by Irish parents, Colette spent all her childhood holidays in County Wexford.
After taking her primary degree Colette worked, but stopped when she had her daughter, at 25. Later, after her return to university, she made her career in research.
“I worked for the government agency that funds education; then for a Research Institute as politics consultant.”
In 1993, when the children were small, the family moved to Bath. They live there still. But meanwhile, celebrating their silver wedding in the Napa Valley, they bought a rundown shack, which they renovated over the years. And it was whilst spending time there, that Colette began to write.
“I started with poetry and short stories, then a story kept getting longer, and I realised I was writing a novel. I entered in for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, and it was shortlisted. That gave me confidence.”
Colette spent many years improving the novel; working with a literary consultant in San Francisco, before being taken on by Robert Kirby of United Agents last year.
Who is Colette Dartford
Date of birth: 15th March 1957, in London.
Education: St Angela’s Convent in London. Bath University; Sociology. And later, a Masters in Research Methods, and a Doctorate in Political Science.
Family: Husband Trevor, children Charlotte, Matthew, and Nicholas. 2 dogs.
The Day Job: Fulltime writer
Interests: Hillwalking. “I walk every morning.” Travelling. Cinema, and wine. “I took a course when we were living in the Napa Valley.”
Favourite Writers: Donna Tartt; Ian McEwen; Anita Shreve; Helen Dunmore; Anthony Doerr.
Second Novel: It’s due out next Spring. I’m working on the final edits.
Top Tip: “Get impartial feedback on your work. That’s crucial. I would not have been published had I not sought professional editorial critique.”
Web: www.colettedartford.com Twitter: @colettedartford
The Debut: Learning to Speak American. Twenty7: €10.50. Kindle: €4.07.
Lola and Duncan Drummond were once happy. But when their daughter died, in tragic circumstances, they lost the ability to communicate. Duncan hopes that an anniversary holiday in the Napa Valley might reunite them.
When Lola falls for a house there, Duncan buys it, but will this prove the answer?
The Verdict: An engaging page-turner showing how grief causes a catalyst for change.
Published in The Irish Examiner on 30th July
© Sue Leonard. 2016