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I was born in the West Riding of Yorkshire. After completing a BA honours degree in History at Manchester University and a Masters in Education at Hull, I settled in the East Riding for many years as a teacher of history. Always a prolific reader, I enjoyed historical fiction and was encouraged to try my hand at writing. Success in short story competitions spurred me on.
Leaving teaching – but not my love of history – I wrote my first historical romance, a Regency, which was published by Harlequin in 2005. Ten historical novels and a novella later, ranging from medieval, through the English Civil War and Restoration and back to Regency, I decided to write about ‘history that actually happened’ and was particularly drawn to give a voice to some of the dynamic but often silent women of the Middle Ages. From that was born Virgin Widow, my novel of Anne Neville, wife of Richard of Gloucester.
Today I live with my husband in an eighteenth century timber-framed cottage in the depths of the Welsh Marches in Herefordshire. It is a wild, beautiful place on the borders between England and Wales, renowned for its black and white timbered houses, ruined castles and priories and magnificent churches. Steeped in history, famous people and bloody deeds as well as ghosts and folk lore, it is an area which gives me inspiration and sources for my writing. It was when I was standing on the battlefield of Mortimer’s Cross, smothered in exhaust fumes from the traffic that thundered within an inch of me, that really woke up my senses to vibes from the past – and I started writing...
As for other interests – I seem to have fewer as I write more. I enjoy gardening and yoga. I have an ‘Elizabethan’ type herb and salad patch – and enjoy eating the proceeds. I am often asked if I have tried more medieval dishes. I have certainly cooked early plum and damson dishes, and I am interested in the historical use of herbs and spices, both medicinal and culinary, but on the whole I have not ventured into more exciting projects. As a vegetarian I have to accept my limitations because the great platters of food served at medieval feasts were heavy on the meat and fish. And even if I was tempted to cook these, I would certainly draw the line at Roman stuffed dormice. (I discovered a hibernating dormouse in one of my bird nest boxes this winter, and I could not contemplate it.)