I was born in Teesside, NE England. I enjoyed a traditional 1970’s childhood, watching too much TV and eating convenience food because nobody minded if kids did that in those days. Since graduating from Leicester University, where I studied English Language and Literature, I’ve worked in advertising and as a management consultant. In 2010 I was proud to be awarded an honorary doctorate of Letters from Teesside University.
I’ve always dreamed of being a writer and my first novel - Playing Away – was published in 2000; that year the Evening Standard identified me as one of London’s ‘Twenty Faces to Watch’, which was very nice of them!
I like to keep busy and to be described as one of the most-loved and biggest-selling women’s fiction writers in the UK, (who wouldn’t like that?!) Over two million copies of my work have been sold in the UK and I’m translated into 25 different languages. I’ve published twelve novels in twelve years, all of which have been Times Top Ten bestsellers. The State We're In, my thirteenth novel, examines issues that are important to us all. It scrutinizes our concepts of family, our theories on love, parenting and infidelity with (I hope) honesty and humour. I’m known for examining the thorny issues of the lives we lead today with my trademark, up-front, tell-it-as-it-is style.
I write numerous articles and short stories for national magazines and newspapers and often appear on radio and TV talking about my work and related matters. Once I get going, it’s quite hard to shut me up.
I passionately believe that reading is a basic right. I'm a proud Ambassador of The Reading Agency's Six Book Challenge, a scheme that encourages emerging readers who are becoming passionate about books. Find out more about Six Book Challenge. In 2008 I wrote a Quick Read, Happy Families as part of the celebrations of World Book Day, which went on to win Quick Read Learners’ Favourite Award, as voted for by the public. I'm also thrilled to support WellChild, a wonderful charity that helps seriously ill children, young people and their families throughout the UK, through programmes of care, support and research.
In 2010 I was one of the judges for the Costa Book Awards a great honour and an amazing experience.
My son is 13 now and although I haven't had the pleasure of reading to him at night for many years (oh treasure those times!), we do both now settle down to read our separate books together and we do recommend books to one another. We had quite a fight...