John Ironmonger was born and grew up in East Africa. He has a doctorate in zoology, and was once an expert on freshwater leeches. He is the author of The Good Zoo Guide and the novels, The Notable Brain of Maximilian Ponder, which was shortlisted for the 2012 Costa First Novel Prize and the Guardian’s Not the Booker Prize, and The Coincidence Authority. He was part of a world record team for speed reading Shakespeare, and once drove across the Sahara in a £100 banger. He lives in rural Shropshire with his wife, Sue, and has two grown-up children.
With an insatiable appetite for other people’s business, Erica James will readily strike up conversation with strangers in the hope of unearthing a useful gem for her writing. The author of many bestselling novels, including Gardens of Delight, which won the Romantic Novel of the Year award and the recent Sunday Times bestseller Summer at the Lake, Erica divides her time between Suffolk and Lake Como in Italy, where she now strikes up conversation with unsuspecting Italians.
Cathy Kelly is published around the world, with millions of books in print. A No.1 bestseller in the UK, Ireland and Australia, her trademark is warm Irish storytelling about modern life, always with an uplifting message, sense of community and strong female characters at the heart.
She lives with her family and their three dogs in County Wicklow, Ireland.
Vanessa Lafaye was born in Tallahassee and raised in Tampa, Florida, where there were hurricanes most years. She first came to the UK in 1987 looking for adventure, and found it. After spells of living in Paris and Oxford, she now lives in Marlborough, Wiltshire, with her husband and three furry children. Vanessa leads the local community choir, and music and writing are big parts of her life.
Before the publication of her debut novel Alys, Always, Harriet Lane wrote for the Guardian, the Observer, Vogue and Tatler. She lives in north London with her husband and two children.
Deborah Lawrenson spent her childhood moving around the world with diplomatic service parents, from Kuwait to China, Belgium, Luxembourg and Singapore. She graduated from Cambridge University and worked as a journalist in London. She is the author of five previous novels, including The Art of Falling, chosen for the prestigious WHSmith Fresh Talent promotion, and Songs of Blue and Gold, inspired by the life of writer-traveller Lawrence Durrell.
Deborah is married with a daughter, and lives in Kent. The family spends as much time as possible at a crumbling hamlet in Provence, France, which is the atmospheric setting for The Lantern.
Kate Lord Brown is an internationally successful author. Her novel The Perfume Garden was shortlisted for the Romantic Novel of the Year 2014. She holds an MA in Creative Writing.
Find out more at Kate’s website, katelordbrown.com and follow her on Twitter at @katelordbrown.
Amy Grace Loyd is an executive editor at BYLINER INC. and was the fiction and literary editor of PLAYBOY magazine for over six years until 2011. She has also worked in the NEW YORKER’s fiction department and was associate editor on the NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS Classics series. She has been a MacDowell and Yaddo fellow. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.