My father was a brilliant story-teller. He had a very boring day-job, so exercised his mind making up long, involved (and often very funny) bedtime stories for my sister and me - with a cliff-hanger ending every night! On the rare occasions when he was stuck for ideas, he used to fall back on lesser-known folk tales. Re-telling traditional stories is still the kind of writing I most enjoy. At school I used the English essay subjects we were given as an excuse to write stories of my own, which weren't always appreciated. 'Write on the subject!' written in red and a mark of C+ was my first experience of rejection. My French teacher was more appreciative, which maybe explains why I ended up doing not English but French at university. Straight after graduation I married and settled down to be a full-time wife and mother - it was a straight choice in those days between motherhood or a career. Apart from some freelance journalism and a few stories for radio, my writing career was on hold until my three sons were grown up, at which point I decided it was now or never if I wanted to be a full-time writer. I was lucky enough to get my first book - a retelling of an old East Anglian folk tale - accepted by the second publisher I sent it to. Luckier still to get a review from Susan Hill, saying it deserved to become a children's classic. (It didn't, of course.) Since then I've published around thirty books, ranging from picture book texts to a teenage vampire novel. My first young teenage novel, 'Owl-light', was short-listed for the WH Smith Mind-Boggling Books award. My most recent one, 'Shadow of the Beast', was long-listed for the Carnegie Medal. Nowadays, I'm a book junkie. I buy more books than I can ever possibly read and enjoy all kinds, bar chick-lit and modern biography. My other interests include cryptic crosswords, going to the theatre and foreign travel.