I was born in the U.S. and raised in southern Spain, where I lived for six years. I'm half-Spanish by birth through my mother and fully bilingual. History has been an obsession of mine since childhood, but I started out working in fashion before I moved into social services. I've always enjoyed writing and finally published my first book, The Secret Lion, with an independent press in 2004. I then helped establish a new independent press shortly before my current agent sold my subsequent work in a 2-book deal to Ballantine, Random House, in early 2007.
Writing is a solitary task; to thrive in this difficult market, writers needs support. I've been very fortunate to find it. I therefore believe in giving back to the communities that nurture my growth, both as a writer and a person. It's karma: what you give, you will receive.
I've served on the board of the Women's National Book Association/SF Chapter, a marvelous organization that promotes literacy, and actively review for the Historical Novel Society's The Historical Novels Review, true champion of the genre. I campaign and donate whatever I can to organizations that defend and protect our environment, animal rights, and the fight against HIV, an area to which I've devoted twelve years of my professional life. I live in Northern California with my partner of sixteen years and our beloved corgi, Paris.
As a historical fiction writer, I seek to reveal untold or secret histories. Whether it's Juana of Castile's alleged madness or Catherine de Medici's reputation for evil, or, as in The Secret Lion, a squire's search for his past, I strive first and foremost to entertain. I also hope readers will come away from my work with the experience that they've been on an emotional journey. I want them to feel the way these people lived, their hardships and joys, and differences and similiarities with us. Though a Renaissance queen may have faced issues we don't, love, hatred, power, intolerance, passion, and the quest for personal liberty are universal themes everyone can relate to.