I grew up in Highland Park, Illinois and spent most of my childhood reading, reading, reading. I can still remember curling up on my bed with A Little Princess (oh, those elusive diamond-mines), The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew, Eight Cousins (I liked it better than Little Women), A Wrinkle in Time (the man with the red eyes!), The Phantom Tollbooth and Nancy Drew. I even, in desperation to find new material, made it through the entire series of The Bobbsey Twins one summer. I knew from the age of six that I wanted to be a writer.
I went to college at Cornell University and graduated with a BA in History. History was fascinating; I loved learning about the past and, of course, I authored papers. After college, having rejected the whole writing idea as not being practical and as a result not knowing quite what to do with myself, I flirted with the idea of going to law school—my father was a lawyer and there was even a judge in the family, so expected. I could not see myself as a lawyer (and above all, I never wanted to do anything that was expected of me) so I went instead to Columbia University and took a master’s degree at the School of International Affairs. I had a vague idea that it might be nice to work overseas and perhaps be Secretary of State one day.
Books in order of publication:
Four Queens: The Provençal Sisters Who Ruled Europe – 2007
The Lady Queen: The Notorious Reign of Joanna I, Queen of Naples, Jerusalem, and Sicily – 2009
The Maid and the Queen: The Secret History of Joan of Arc – 2011
The Rival Queens: Catherine de’ Medici, Her Daughter Marguerite de Valois, and the Betrayal that Ignited a Kingdom – 2015
Daughters of the Winter Queen: Four Remarkable Sisters, the Crown of Bohemia, and the Enduring Legacy of Mary, Queen of Scots – 2018
In the Shadow of the Empress: The Defiant Lives of Maria Theresa, Mother of Marie Antoinette, and Her Daughters – 2021