Vena Cork is the author of the Thorn trilogy, The Lost Ones, and Toxic, all published by Endeavour Press.
Vena was born in Blackpool, where her parents ran a pub on the Golden Mile. Her love affair with books began at infant school when she completed Book Six of Beacon Readers and was told that she could now read anything that took her fancy. To her delight she found that not only could she choose any of the books on the shelves, she could also read all the words inside them. This was a revelation and kindled an obsession with books that continues to this day. There was a time around the age of ten when she believed she’d be able to read every book in the world. She hasn’t yet fully recovered from finding out that this probably wouldn’t be possible. She’s still working on it.
When she left school she wanted to be an actor, but as her mother pointed out, acting was a chancy business and she needed something to fall back on. So she spent three years at Homerton College Cambridge, where she qualified as a drama teacher and had a fabulous time acting in lots of university productions.
She was also fortunate to be one of the first women to become a member of The Cambridge Footlights and it was there that she met her husband, Richard. After graduating they both came to London. He landed the job of Art Critic on The London Evening Standard and she landed a job teaching drama in a Hammersmith comprehensive. Eventually they had the first of their four children and she became a full time mother.
When her youngest child was three she revisited her wish to become an actor. An equity card was essential, and to get it she and two friends formed a group, Belladonna. They devised a music hall show that they took round shady pubs in the East End way before it became the hipster destination of choice.
One day, when enrolling on a couple of courses at The Actors’ Centre she noticed that they also did a playwright’s workshop run by the playwright, David Mowat. It looked interesting so she signed up for that too. It was brilliant and as time went on she found that writing was becoming more important to her than acting. In fact, eventually she found that starting a career as an actor in her late thirties while also bringing up four children was too much so she returned to square one and spent the next twelve years as a drama teacher. During this time she wrote many things including several plays, a couple of which were staged at her school. But finally she realised that if she was to get any further with her writing she needed to commit to it full time. So with the love and encouragement of husband and children she left teaching and wrote her first novel, Thorn. Then she found herself an agent, the lovely Lisa Moylett, who got her a three book deal, and The Thorn Trilogy was on its way.
While writing her fourth book she was diagnosed with breast cancer, and stopped writing altogether for a couple of years but when she recovered she wrote The Lost Ones, which was published in May 2016 and Toxic published in July 2016 both by Endeavour Press.