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I grew up in the small town of Rumford, Maine, just up the hill from the local library. I spent most of my time reading and at the age of eleven I wrote my first novel. It was about a sorceress who had to defeat a devilishly good-looking evil wizard, and it was pretty much a copy of Ursula LeGuin’s A Wizard of Earthsea, with added romance. I followed that up by plagiarising The Dark is Rising, The Diary of Anne Frank, and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
They were all terrible.
As I matured, my stories got more original. In high school, my best friend Kathy and I spent all of our study halls and most of our Chemistry lessons scribbling stories about ourselves and various celebrities. My oeuvre was rapidly expanded to include The Beatles Book, The Monkees Book, and The Gorgeous Neighbour Possessed By The Devil Book.
I studied at Brown University, earning a summa cum laude degree with honours in English. I became a peer writing tutor and drew a weekly cartoon for the Brown Daily Herald entitled 'Georgie and Squid,' about an Elvis lookalike with a pet cephalopod.
During my junior year abroad at Cambridge University, I fell in love with the United Kingdom. I moved there in 1992 to pursue a postgraduate degree in English Literature at the University of Reading. My M.Phil. thesis was a study of fairies in late nineteenth and early twentieth century children’s fiction.
I began teaching English at secondary school level, writing novels in the evenings after I’d finished my marking (and sometimes, before). My first three novels were all rejected, some of them several times. The fourth one was a finalist in Romance Writers of America’s 2004 Golden Heart competition, and I sold that one. The day when the editor called to tell me they were going to buy my book was one of the most memorable in my life. I do believe I screamed in joy.
I’ve been writing constantly since then and have had, to date, fifteen books published under my own name and pseudonyms. My books have sold over half a million copies and have been translated into fifteen languages. I’ve won or been shortlisted for several awards, including the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Romance Prize, the National Readers’ Choice Award, and the HOLT Medallion. I give workshops for fiction writers all over the UK and the US.
I now live in Berkshire with my husband, a guitar tech for rock bands, and our young son, who loves books and fast cars. I’m teased daily about my American accent, and still wouldn’t mind having a gorgeous neighbour who's possessed by the devil.
Grosse Pointe Blank and High Fidenlity