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I was born in an 'old' English county called Middlesex. You won't find it on any modern map – it's since been swallowed up by Greater London, swept away with the swish of a bureaucratic pen. Nevertheless, I spent a perfectly happy childhood there, with two parents who love me, and a younger brother who I still like. I was painfully shy growing up and books were my passion, so my first career ambition was to be an author – mainly, I think, because I didn't fancy leaving home.
Everyone seems to have one teacher who's inspired them more than any other. I met mine when I was thirteen and his name was Frank Richards, our drama teacher. He introduced me to theatre, and at fourteen, when I walked on stage for the first time in a play he'd written, it was the beginning of a new passion.
After training in classical theatre for three years at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in London, I started my career in professional theatre under my Equity name of Jessica Dean.
In 1991 I married my husband and we decided to start our family. I must have harboured some kind of daft idea that I would have a baby, put it in a papoose and carry on pretty much as before. Not surprisingly it didn't quite work out that way. I hadn't realised just how powerful mother-love is, and had five children in six years – working only very briefly during this time.
I'm blessed to have an easy, happy marriage and five great children. When illness touched our lives, I began to reassess my future and that was when I decided it was time to focus on writing. My second submission to Mills and Boon was accepted in December 2003.
I now live in Bedfordshire with my husband and my children. I love antique fairs. I also collect kitchenalia, paint in watercolour, and am a signer for the deaf (BSL). My house is in a constant state of disarray but I make great cakes and write books, so no one seems to mind.
Hobson’s Choice starring John Mills, Notting Hill, Sleepless in Seattle, While You Were Sleeping and The Truth about Cats and Dogs