From an early age I wanted to be a writer and Yorkshire, where I was born, was a great inspiration in this respect. A few miles away from where we lived was Haworth Parsonage, home of the Bronte sisters (and their naughty brother).
I VISITED IT OFTEN TO WONDER at the fact that the sisters managed to derive such inspiration from those bleak and misty moors. I went up to read English at Cambridge in 1983.
My first job was on the art magazine Apollo; after this I went to work on a mag for foreign diplomats in London. A couple of jobs later saw me as deputy editor of the Sunday Times Style section, where I wrote on a weekly basis (and with her help) the column ostensibly penned by Tara Palmer-Tomkinson.
Our partnership became the inspiration for my first novel, Simply Divine, in which a lowly hack writes the column for a celebrity socialite. It was published in 1999, and at the same time I moved from my job as deputy editor of society glossy Tatler to the Mail on Sunday’s YOU magazine, after which I became a writer full-time. I got married (in 1993) and had two children, Andrew (born 2002) and Isabella (born 2004). Around the time of Andrew’s first birthday I gave up the struggle to commute from London to the country every weekend and moved full-time to Derbyshire, where we live in a former Victorian gardener’s lodge built in the shape of a tiny castle. I work in a small green summerhouse in the garden where in winter the water freezes in my Evian bottle, but where I get wonderful views over the valley all year long.