I was born and raised in Ireland, in suburban Dublin. My parents were from Kerry so there was a well-maintained connection with the “kingdom”. I studied history at University College Dublin and Birkbeck College in London, where I settled and still live. I worked as an editor and copy-writer of illustrated partwork magazines and “family reference” books until the mid-1980s. Then I became a novelist and freelance writer, this being one of the few practicable ways of combining paid work with motherhood. The writing and publishing game has always been a bit of a gamble. In our interesting times, it’s more true than ever that “full many a flower is born to blush unseen”. I appreciate the luck I’ve had. But even as I persist as a writer in quest of readers I am mindful of those handloom weavers, sailmakers, et al, who were swept into extinction by the tide of technological change.