Coming from a non-musical family, I was thirteen years old before I asked for piano lessons. I often feel this gives me the advantage of being able to recall both the excitement and music-reading anxieties of the beginner!
I trained at Trinity College of Music, London. Here I obtained my Licentiate Diploma for Piano Teaching (LTCL) and the Graduate Diploma (GTCL Hons) – although I’d been happily teaching the piano for a small fee since I was eighteen years old.
On graduating, I was lucky to be able to combine my love of music and dance by taking a full-time piano teaching post at White Lodge, the Royal Ballet Junior School in Richmond Park. It was also at this time that I took on some adult beginners after school, and before long had a waiting list of them. I was also playing keyboards in two bands in the evening.
Although I was enjoying my busy musical life, after eight years I started to wonder what else I could do. After some study and exams, I went to City University in London to study Optometry and Visual Science, and went on to do a PhD. I then spent 25 years working as a clinical (mostly paediatric) and post-doc research optometrist at Moorfields Eye Hospital.
About ten years ago I took up writing, and – maybe inspired by the piano teaching character in my first novel – started teaching the piano again. In January 2016 I said goodbye to the hospital to concentrate on my piano teaching and writing (cherryradford.com), and my novel The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter was published in 2018 (Urbane Publications). Now with a wonderful literary agent, I have a three-book deal with Aria Fiction (Head of Zeus) for a series of novels set in the Cabo de Gata Natural Park area of Almería, Spain — where I now live. The first of these, The Spanish House, comes out in August 2021. I blog about my journey to publication – as well as my passion for flamenco, lighthouses and what ever else makes me get my notebook out – on my website. Do join me there!