Writers are often expected to have tortured, unhappy backgrounds but I grew up very happily in the Chilterns.
I wrote my first book at the age of four, the exciting tale of a teddy bear called, inexpicably, Glug. When I was twelve, my father brought a typewriter home from his office and I began my first novel. I was, however, hampered by the fact that he insisted I learn to touch-type, covering all the keys with elastoplast and buying me a copy of Teach Yourself Touch Typing. A year later he removed the plasters and I was a touch typist. Apart, perhaps, from learning to drive, I firmly believe this is probably the most useful skill I have ever learned.
A succession of jobs followed a grammar school education. I temped in London in the seventies, sold up-market furniture around the country in the eighties and then drifted into insurance and information technology.
Along the way, I had a daughter and various dogs came and went and then my husband and I decided it was time for a complete change. In 1998, we threw in our jobs and bought a run-down guest house in Swanage, Dorset. Part of the plan was to give me more time to write but the building needed complete renovation and spare time was non-existent. Seven years on, the hotel was complete, but also increasingly successful and therefore time-consuming. Time to write is still at a premium but it has to be found - it's what I do.
We also have a little village house in a gorgeous white-washed village in the south-eastern corner of Spain and try to spend some of the winter there.
My grown-up daughter now lives in London, however Lulu, the last of a dynasty of Irish Terriers I have bred and shown, shares our lives and she makes quite sure that I walk every day, whether in the stunning Dorset countryside or the beautiful Spanish mountains.