I was born and brought up in London, where I still live because I love it here in spite of the noise and the dirt and the crowds. At school in South-East London my favourite subjects were English and History – but my best memories are of the times when I took part in school plays.
As a teenager I did loads of part-time jobs, working as, among other things, a waitress, a shop assistant and even an usherette in a West End theatre. For a while I thought it would be fun to be an actor, then I realised how totally unsuited in almost every way I was to that career and, once I finished university, I became a journalist instead.
In 2003 I got made redundant from my job and to cheer myself up I decided to try a few things I’d always thought would be fun but had never found the time to do properly before. That September I started a Writing for Children course at the City Literary Institute in London.
A month later (I remember the moment!) I decided that writing stories was what I really wanted to do for the rest of my life. But I needed to earn a living, which meant I had to write stories that other people wanted to read too…
It wasn’t easy to finish a book, let alone get it published. Over the next year-and-a-half I worked hard, getting feedback from other aspiring writers and struggling with almost every aspect of writing fiction. In the end I got there. I finished my first novel, the teen thriller Girl, Missing, at the beginning of 2005 and a few months later it was taken on by Simon & Schuster Children’s Books.
Girl, Missing came out in October 2006. Since then I have published many more teen thrillers as well as two teen romance series, a couple of books for younger children and, more recently, a number of standalone crime fiction novels for adults.
For a while I combined writing stories with working as a receptionist, copyeditor and freelance newsletter editor. I’ve also worked as a creative writing tutor and now, in addition to my novels, I’m focusing on developing my skills as a screenwriter.
In my spare time I like going to the movies, watching football with my son, being cooked for by my husband and going out with my friends. I don’t like rats, rudeness or shoe shopping and I love dim sum, acts of kindness and great stories.