She was born and brought up in Leichester. She was one of eight children born to Irish parents who had migrated to England during the Second World War. She worked for six years as an English teacher in comprehensive schools in Hull and Rotherdam and specialized further to teach children with special need in Mansfield and Basildon schools, before leaving in 1991 to pursue her writing full time. Her play Dear Tractor has been broadcast in Radio Four. She is married with two children.