My name’s Nickhola-Susanne and I’m a storyteller, writer and artist living by the sea near Brighton.
I began as a fashion & beauty editor, then health editor, on a series of national women’s magazines including Health & Fitness, Essentials and Good Housekeeping.
Over the last 25 years, having trained as a healer with The Healing Trust, I wrote 16 health books for mainstream publishers including Random House, Hodder-Headline and HarperCollins under the name Nikki Bradford. Then co-published a (quite rude) women’s novel with PenPress, and a book of children’s short stories with The Wildlife Trust.
When back injury stopped me sitting down to type for many years, I began creating artwork then co-founded and ran a community health initiative with 7 other complementary therapists called Holistic OutReach. Some of our initially free projects obtained funding and ran for several years, including services for Rise women’s and children’s refuge, a primary school and The Women’s Centre.
I’ve since trained as a shamanic practitioner with the Sacred Trust – and been inspired by Dr Martin Shaw at the School of Myth to tell stories to adults as well as children and absolutely love it.
I tell stories freestyle, without reading from a book. For as the poet Rumi wrote: ‘Learn things by heart! For they die of cold upon the page.’
I’m also very excited to have been collaborating with some terrific musicians recently – including a top classical violin /cello quartet, plus multi-instrumentalist Eugene McCloskey – and found the energy of great live music takes storytelling’s to a different level. ‘My work’s highly interactive, so the whole audience gets involved using the props: everything from drums, rattles and thunder tubes to strings of flashing fairy lights or several metres of net curtain. And that’s just the grown ups.
Image: Lou-Lily Gibson
I spend as much time as possible out in wild nature in all weathers. Sometimes the hills, the woods or the sea bring new tales that want to be told – and bring them in detail. When this happens, it’s like taking rapid dictation. I can barely type fast enough. That, and being respectfully aware these stories certainly didn’t come from my own very small human brain, make it a) imperative to use the spellchecker, and b) some of the best fun I’ve ever had.