My first career was managing aid programmes for vulnerable women and children in the UK and Eastern Europe. During my travels I got the writing bug and embarked on an MA in Screenwriting at the University of the Arts London, and later I gained a PhD, which explored writing heroines' journeys. Since then I have worked as a screenwriter, story consultant and script editor within the international film industry and have given screenwriting seminars throughout the world. Creatively I am drawn to characters that live life on their own terms, whatever the cost. My forthcoming crime series Elvira Slate Investigations was partly inspired by a lifelong love of the 1940s film and novels, from Hollywood musicals to Walter Moseley – basically anything with sharp-talking women in shoulder pads and dudes in fedoras. I live and work in St Leonards on Sea, in East Sussex, with my husband and two Burmese cats.