Photo by Mayotte Magnus

I was born in October 1962 and grew up in Washington, DC, where my father was a photographer for the Washington Post. It’s a strange place to live if you’re not involved in politics. After graduating with a BA in English from Oberlin College in Ohio, I moved to London, and have lived there ever since, with my British husband and son. I now have dual nationality, but my accent is still American.

I worked for several years as a reference book editor, which taught me a lot about research, accuracy, and the importance of editing as part of the writing process. I put these lessons to use when I did an MA in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia in Norwich. I then juggled freelance editing with writing until my second novel, Girl with a Pearl Earring, began to do well, and I was able to write full-time. I’ve published 10 novels so far. I'm working on my 11th.

When asked about hobbies, I’m always baffled at how to respond. My life isn’t divided into work and play; it’s one jumbled free-for-all. If pressed I would say: quilting, though I make them slowly and not particularly well. Gardening, though I am no good at keeping a tidy, show-stopping garden. I’m much better at guerrilla gardening, shoving plants willy-nilly into the small public patch in front of my house. And of course, reading, which has been a constant all my life, like brushing my teeth or drinking water.