I have been telling stories for as long as I can remember – many of them born of frustration when I was stuck in a classroom longing to be rescued! I love anything romantic, whether it is a grand opera or a beautiful painting. It doesn’t necessarily have to be happy, as long as it is inspiring.
I was born in Bristol and grew up on Barton Hill, an area of small terraced houses built in the nineteenth century between the mills and the railway. I think my love of adventure stories is due to the fact that I grew up with three older brothers and lived in a street full of boys! My love of history and the English language was fostered at grammar school, where I soon discovered the delights of Georgian and Regency fiction, first of all with the works of Jane Austen and then Georgette Heyer.
I left school at sixteen to work in companies as varied as stockbrokers, marine engineers, biscuit manufacturers and even a quarrying company, but I never lost my love of history, and when I wasn’t reading and researching the Georgian and Regency period I was writing stories about it.
When I was at home with my first child, I decided to try my hand at writing seriously, and my first historical novel, Fortune’s Lady, was published by Robert Hale in 1980. I have now published more than twenty novels, over a dozen of them as Melinda Hammond, winning the Reviewers Choice award in 2005 from Singletitles.com for Dance for a Diamond and the Historical Novel Society’s Editors Choice in 2006 for Gentlemen in Question. Writing as Sarah Mallory for Harlequin Mills & Boon, The Earl’s Runaway Bride won a coveted CataNetwork Reviewers Choice award for 2010 and I have won the the RNA’s RoNA Rose Award in 2012 and 2013.
After many years living on the West Yorkshire moors, I have now moved to the remote Scottish Highlands. The new house overlooks the sea, where the stunning scenery inspires me to write even more!