I was born in 1979 and grew up in Grays, Essex. Thanks to my two older sisters, stories have always been a big part of my life. As well as reading to me, they invented tales of their own and drew pictures to accompany them. I began writing short stories when I was about fourteen, and by the time I left school it was my ambition to become an author and illustrator.


When I was nineteen I moved to Stafford to study Illustration. I wrote the first few chapters of The 13 Treasures in my first year of university, but it wasn't until I left that I began working on it seriously. I had lots of rejection letters before getting published.


After college I worked as a barmaid, in an art gallery, and as a children's bookseller. Most recently I worked as an assistant editor for a children's book publisher. I now write full time and live in Oxfordshire. I have a son, Jack, and two cats, Pepper and Marmite. You can find out more about me and my books in the Q&A on the 'Books' page.


Watch a short film of me introducing The 13 Treasures here.





13 FACTS ABOUT ME:


1. I was almost called Jacqueline. My mum changed her mind after my sister persuaded her to call me Michelle.


2. The book Inkheart by Cornelia Funke inspired me to take bookbinding classes.


3. I was an aunt at the age of eight.


4. I love black cats. My black cat Pepper is the naughtiest cat I've ever known. She pees in the bath every chance she gets.


5. I can pinch with my toes.


6. When I was a student, I lived in a haunted flat. I moved out after two weeks.


7. When I worked at Waterstone's I won a prize for being the best-dressed bookseller at one of the 'Harry Potter' launches. I dressed up as Professor Trelawney!


8. I have a silver charm bracelet. It's not exactly the same as the one in my stories but each charm is connected to the books in some way.


9. I own a crystal ball. Not to predict the future, but because I like the way it looks.


10. I'm a fan of horror films. I went to the cinema alone to watch The Blair Witch Project because no one would come with me - too scared!


11. After one of my sister's stories I dug in our back garden to look for evidence of a dead fairy. I didn't find anything.


12. I have extremely vivid, and often weird dreams that have been known to come true.


13. The number 13 is my lucky number.

website by Darren Rook