I was born in Preston and grew up in Lancashire: here I am practising my detective skills at an early age.
I’ve always loved books, and after spending my school days reading compulsively, writing plays, editing the school magazine and writing endless stories, I went to study English Literature at Bristol University, followed by an MA at the University of Manchester.
My first job was working in a bookshop (Waterstones Lancaster) and since then almost everything I have done has had a bookish theme, including working for Arts Council England’s North West office, specialising in literature.
After moving to London, I spent six years working for reading charity Book Trust. I was lucky enough to be the project manager of the Children’s Laureate, which gave me the chance to work with children’s writers and illustrators including the likes of Anthony Browne, Julia Donaldson, Malorie Blackman and Chris Riddell. I also looked after events such as YALC (the UK’s Young Adult Literature Convention) and prizes such as the Blue Peter Book Awards.
I now combine writing with other children’s book projects. In 2014, I started a monthly children’s book radio show, Down the Rabbit Hole on Resonance 104.4FM, which I run and co-host with Melissa Cox and Louise Lamont. Find out more about the show at dtrhradio.com or subscribe on iTunes.
You’ll also find me reviewing children’s books for The Week Junior, and chairing children’s book events everywhere from the London Book Fair to the Hay Festival to Waterstones Piccadilly to the World Book Day Teen Fest.
My first book, the bestselling The Clockwork Sparrow, was published in 2015 and was shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, longlisted for the Branford Boase Award and nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Medal. It’s been followed by two more titles in the Sinclair’s Mysteries series – The Jewelled Moth and The Painted Dragon. You can also find more of my writing in three short story anthologies – Mystery & Mayhem, Winter Magic and Quest. In 2017 I was selected as one of the Aarhus 39 – a selection of the best children’s and YA writers from all over Europe, aged 40 and under. I’m represented by Louise Lamont at LBA Books.
My all-time favourite book is I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. Apart from books and writing, I love art galleries, drinking tea, wearing cosy jumpers, going for long windswept walks, black and white films, red shoes and of course, cake.