Charlene Allcott

Posted by Sue Leonard on Monday 30th July 2018

As a child Charlene loved books.

“I hung around in the library all day, and I wrote stories for friends at school, and for the school newspaper. But I didn’t think of myself as a writer. I wanted to work with people.”

Charlene’s first job was as a family support worked in Birmingham.

Then I moved to London and worked in Social Services, with families who had been reported for neglect. After a few, intense, years, I worked with young people for various councils.”

After ten years, feeling burnt out, Charlene moved to Brighton and worked in an office – but soon realised office life was not for her.

“I had my baby and stayed at home for a while. That’s when I started writing, through a blog.”

She went back into youth work, on a part-time basis, but then her marriage ended, suddenly.

“I didn’t know what to do with myself, and I started writing a novel for therapy.”

That’s when she heard of the Write Now scheme, started by Penguin Random House to encourage writers from a marginalised background.

“They mentor you, and develop your writing, and help you to understand the publishing process. I was accepted onto the scheme in April 2017 and received my offer at the end of last year.”

Who is Charlene Allcott

Date of birth: 1981 in Croydon

Education:  Sydenham High School. Birmingham University: Psychology.

Home: Brighton

Family: Single mum, Rosco, 4. (Two sisters and a brother – and her parents fostered lots of children.)

The Day Job: Youth Work.

In Another Life: “I’d be a dancer, because I’d love to tell stories with my body, but I’m very clumsy.”

Favourite Writers: Curtis Sittenfeld; Jeanette Winterson; Alice Walker; Marian Keyes.

Second Novel: “It’s about a mother trying to find herself. It’s quite different.”

Top Tip: Be gentle with yourself. “Don’t beat yourself up if you haven’t written enough.”

Web  Twitter: @charleneallcott

The Debut: The Reinvention of Martha Ross. Corgi Books: €10.80   Kindle: €5.67. 

Martha Ross’s life is in crisis. Her marriage over, she struggles to care for her small son whilst working in a call centre and dreaming of bigger things – like becoming a singer.

“There are no right answers in love and relationships.” 

The Verdict: Funny and touching.

 Published in The Irish Examiner on 28th July.

© Sue Leonard. 2018.

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