Bettine Manktelow was born Bettine Stratton in Gillingham in Kent, and is the middle daughter of three.She became stage-struck at an early age andworked in a repertory company atChatham Theatre Royalat the age of sixteen as an assistant stage-manager, learning stage craft from the bottom up and graduating to acting parts.This early career lasted four years until family commitments forced her to give up the hard graft and dubious glamour of show business for domestic life. She had been bitten by the bug, however, and couldn’t give up the theatre completely, taking part in amateur dramatics whenever possible. This interest culminated while living in Singapore with the chance to have her own play presented. This was her first play and purporting to be a kitchen-sink drama was greeted by the ex-pat audience as a hoot. Bettine realised she had an unwittingflair for comedy! This first reception did not deter her, however, and she continued to write until she was able to produce a full-length play for a drama group in Ramsgate, Kent. This play,They Call It Murder was written with particular actors in mind with very few men, as most drama groups had a shortage of male actors.They Call It Murderwas subsequently taken up by a professional company and was then accepted for publication by Samuel French, proving to be popular with amateur dramatic groups both in the UK and abroad wherever English is the first language.Encouraged by this success, Bettine went on to write three more plays which were all published:Death Walked In, Couples and Branwell.The latter being particularly popular amongst groups as a festival production. There followed a lull in Bettine’s writing after this as she began to take up a theatrical career again - but this time front of house rather than backstage - working as publicity officer or marketing officer for several different provincial theatres. It was only after retiring to Deal that Bettine began to write plays again for a local drama group. Curtain Up on Murder, which was inspired by the sight of the Deal pier, was staged in Deal and became an even greater favourite amongst amateurs than her first play. This was followed by Curtain Call and Proscenophobia, completing a trilogy of plays about the theatre. After this she formed her own dramatic society and with them staged Murder Weekend, The White Cliffs and CharityBegins…, all of which were published.Spygame and Hotel Mystére followed. AlthoughBettine has now disbanded her drama group, she still tries to stage a play once a year and the next one is to be Murder By Default.Bettine’s first novel No Time for Tears is available onAmazon and on Kindle.The sequel to this story The Gossamer Thread is also available on Amazon and on Kindle.