I was born and grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa.
I studied drama at the University of the Witwatersrand and I've worked as a writer for theatre, television, magazines, advertising, comedy and the corporate market. I have lived in London since 2000. I live with one husband, two sons and three cats.
I've published several novels to critical acclaim: This Year's Black (Struik 2004), Lame Angel (Struik 2006), Babies in Waiting (Quercus 2012) and Wonder Women (Quercus 2013). After Isabella was published by Allen & Unwin in 2016, and What She Left in 2017.
I also write under the pseudonym Cass Hunter, and my first novel as Cass, The After Wife, was published by Trapeze in March 2018. It was translated into nine languages and optioned as a film in China.
My television credits include Sesame Street, and my corporate clients have included Getty Images, the BBC, the Maybourne Hotel Group, Lever Faberge, Starbucks, Toyota and many more.
My play, Through a Glass Darkly, was performed at the Rosemary Branch Theatre in 2016, and my stage adaptation of Dracula was performed at the Bridewell Theatre in 2019.
My new projects
THE DEATH & LIFE OF LUCY WESTENRA
The Death & Life of Lucy Westenra is a dual timeline historical novel: modern day and late Victorian. It is a feminist retelling of Dracula from the perspective of Lucy Westenra.
It concerns the restrictive choices women faced in the Victorian era, and how the stories of women can be manipulated and erased.
Hillingham − a Georgian house in Hampstead, once the home of the well-to-do Westenra family, now divided into apartments. When teacher Kate Balcombe sets about renovating her room in the attic, she finds an unsent letter written 120 years before by Lucy, the nineteen-year-old daughter of the house.
You may know Lucy from Bram Stoker’s Dracula... a pretty, flirtatious girl with three ardent suitors, she is Mina Harker’s best friend. When Lucy falls mysteriously ill and dies, Van Helsing identifies her as a victim of the vampire.
But what if the monsters who hunt Lucy are much closer to home?
Lucy seeks education and independence, but is pressured into an unwanted engagement by her controlling mother. With the considerable Westenra fortune at stake, she begins to understand that there is every chance she will lose more than her freedom.
As Kate begins to investigate Lucy’s story, she meets James Harker, Mina’s great-great grandson, and together they uncover a long-hidden story of deception and murder.
What desperate steps will Lucy Westenra take to save her own life?
I am currently writing a new novel set in the early 1800s.
For centuries, the care of the dead fell to women: each parish had a Sextoness, or death searcher, who would visit a home when someone had died. She would identify the cause of death and arrange burial in the churchyard. But with the Industrial Revolution and the influx of people into cities, the churchyards became overwhelmed. The male-dominated undertaking industry arose, and municipal cemeteries sprung up around London.
With the Registration Act of 1837, the role of searcher began to disappear.
In 1832, Kezia Peppercorn became the last death searcher at St Augustine, Watling Street. This is her story.