I was born in October 1962 and grew up in Washington, DC, moving to England after graduating with a BA in English from Oberlin College (Ohio). For several years I worked as a reference book editor, while writing short stories in my spare time. In 1993 I quit to do an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia (Norwich, England). Afterwards I juggled freelance editing with writing until eventually I was able to write full-time.

I live in London with my English husband and son. I’ve written 9 novels and edited 2 short story collections. My second novel, Girl with a Pearl Earring, sold 5 million copies worldwide and was made into a film starring Colin Firth and Scarlett Johansson. Apart from writing, I’ve curated three shows in art galleries/museums.

Facts That Don’t Fit a Standard Biography

I’m left-handed.
I have not worked in an office since 1993.
I have a desk in my study but usually I write on the living room sofa.
I write novels longhand, typing what I’ve written into the computer at the end of each day.
I prefer blue ink, and use disposable fountain pens. (Fancy ones don’t work for me.)
It takes me twice as long to write non-fiction as fiction, and twice as long to read it too.
I’ve lived in the United Kingdom for over 30 years, but I still have an American accent.
I avoid wearing earrings and a necklace together. Less is more with jewelry.
In another life, I would be a designer of minimal, environmentally friendly packaging.
I drink coffee until noon; tea after that.
My favorite color is blue – like the ink.