First and foremost I must thank my wonderful editor Jo Field for all her help and support throughout the writing of the Bitti Chai.  

The New Writers UK ( for welcoming me and advising me on everything as I was only armed with the idea for a story. Also to Helen Hollick for her valued advice.

Thanks also to Cathy Helms, Avalon graphics for her fabulous cover design and to John and Diane Jordan for permission to use the image of their stallion Hisley Craftsman.

My story was inspired by my own family, by my Romany grandfather and Gauja grandmother who with care and devotion brought me up and treated me as their daughter, their bitti chai, the youngest child of a family of ten.  My Grandfather instilled in me a pride in our heritage and it was with him in mind that Joe was born even down to his two gold teeth and cigarette in his mouth. 

Many of the Romany characters are inspired either by family or friends. 

Aaron was so named after my great uncle who small in stature holds a place in my heart. However this character soon became linked with a Romany young man who step dances amazingly and with panache and drives a sulky in much the same way.  He very quickly became Aaron personified. 

My thanks go to Ryalla Duffy and her daughters Queenie and Britannia for allowing me to use their names in my story.  Ryalla, a Romany, who in the true sense is a Travelling woman, who has for years campaigned for Romany rights.

My Aunt Betty whose love and devotion has never faltered.  Her strength, bravery and sheer hard work have fortified and unified our family, a true matriarchal figure.  She is Jessie. 

Thanks also to Janet Keet-Black, the hard working editor of the Romany Routes Journal and fellow member of the Romany and Traveller Family History Association.

Although the place names of Throwleigh, Gidleigh and Chagford are real places the farms and homes referred to are all fictitious as are the characters.



The Bitti Chai 





Fifteen-year-old Reigneth Gray is the prophet her family have waited for, but until she meets the soulmate who can help her to control her gifts, she is vulnerable to dangerous influences both good and evil.  Her Romany family guard her secret and protect her from the outside world, but when she is drawn to young, gifted musician, Johnny Wilmott, their love threatens to blow their worlds apart.  Johnny's ignorance of Romany ways and awe of Reigneth's power cause a rift between them, but when he uncovers a dark secret about his past he turns to Reigneth for help.  Can their families put prejudice to one side for their sake or must they part forever?



The Bitti Chai is available from Silverwood Books or Amazon -  ISBN No:  978-906236-73-1


The book was officially launched at a New Writers Event at County Hall, West Bridgford, Nottingham on 7th and 8th October 2011.


Music by Romany Lee Track 05 1.mp3


Official Book Trailer:



Follow this link to read a sample of The Bitti Chai