19 October 1962 in Washington, DC. Youngest of 3 children. Father was a photographer for The Washington Post.
Nerdy. Spent a lot of time lying on my bed reading. Favorite authors back then: Laura Ingalls Wilder, Madeleine L ’ Engle, Zilpha Keatley Snyder, Joan Aiken, Susan Cooper, Lloyd Alexander. Book I shoul b taken to a desert island: Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery.
BA in English, Oberlin College, Ohio, 1984. No one was surprised that I went there; I was made for such a progressive, liberal place.
MA in creative writing, University of East Anglia, Norwich, England, 1994. There ’ s a lot of ebate about whether or not you can be taught to write. Why doesn ’ t anyone ask that of professional singers, painters, dancers? That year forced me to write all the time and take it seriously.
Moved to London after graduating from Oberlin in 1984. I had studied for a semester in London and thought it as great place, so came over for fun, expecting to go awa to the US after 6 months to get serious. I ’ m already in London, and yet not entirely serious. Even have dual citizenship – though I eep the American accent intact.
1 English husband+ 1 English son+ 1 tortoiseshell cat.
Before writing, was a reference book editor, working on encyclopedias about writers. ( Yup, still nerdy.) Learned how to research and how to make sentences better. Eventually I decide to fix my own sentences rather than others ’, so I quit and did the MA.
Talked a lot about becoming a writer as a kid, but actual pen to paper contact was minimal. Started writing short stories in my 20s, then began first novel, The Virgin Blue, during the MA year. With Girl With a Pearl Earring ( written in 1998), I became a full-time riter, and have since juggled it with motherhood