A thriller writer and former Open University student who ‘returned to the scene of the crime’ as an OU teacher, hopes her second novel will be published before Christmas.
And she believes her studies opened the door to fulfilling her desire to be a successful writer, while combining her work as an associate lecturer for the OU’s Openings course in psychology.
“In the beginning, I studied what interested me, but then the psychology degree was for my work with special needs students,” said Jennie.
Jennie, who now works predominantly as an author and screenwriter, has had much success with her first novel, Death of the Elver Man, which was short-listed for the Impress Prize in 2010 under its original title On the Level. The second novel, The Drowners, is due out towards the end of the year with Jennie aiming to plot out the last two books in the series next year.
“I've found the OU studies invaluable, especially the psychology, which has helped with the crime thrillers. I was considered a failure at school, a waste of a grammar school place. But I know now I can do anything I want if I try hard enough; my self-discipline is so much better than when I was younger.
“I am mildly dyslexic and I have dyspraxia and I find being in a strange place and meeting new people very stressful. With the OU I could control my environment completely.”
She funded her courses through a small council grant for summer schools, and used an instalment plan for many of the modules.
Of all her achievements she is most proud of her French certificate.
“With my dyslexia I was told I would never be able to learn another language, but the
OU language courses are excellent. My BA helped me get a post in an art college teaching Higher and Further Education students and the BSc Psychology enabled me to test and support students with learning difficulties. It has also helped in my new career as a writer of crime thrillers.”
Jennie regularly attends and takes part in readings with other authors, most recently at Middlesbrough Literary Festival in June and the University of Teeside in May.
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