I was born in Edinburgh in 1959, my heritage a slightly bewildering mix of Western Highland and Fenland Lincolnshire stock. From the age of six I was brought up and educated on the edge of the Yorkshire moors. On leaving my local secondary school in Easingwold I read English Language and Literature at Somerville College, Oxford. Ten years in the antiquarian book trade in London followed, before my first book (Wayward Women) was commissioned. For a while I juggled book dealing, cataloguing the Thomas Cook archives, writing, having our children, and research; now I work as a full-time writer and lecturer, specialising in social history through women’s eyes. I live near Oxford with my husband and two sons. I’ve been an avid book-collector since the age of seven, when banned from the local library for using a jam-tart bookmark in their copy of Squirrel Nutkin. I’m also a keen horn-player and singer. I’m a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, member of the Society of Authors, and founder-member of Writers in Oxford.