My mother, Cornelia James (d.)1999 was Glovemaker to Her Majesty the Queen running the business with my late father who was a chartered accountant. The firm is today run by my sister, Genevieve and her husband, and still supplies the Royal Family: There is a tenuous but classy link between gloves and one particularly great writer:  Shakespeare’s father was a glove maker!


I once lived for 10 years in a haunted manor house, in Sussex, built over Roman ruins and formerly a monastery. It had four ghosts  – a  Centurion, a monk, a baby and a nasty, man-hating grey lady! My Sussex home is now a Victorian rectory and so far ghost-free, as is my apartment in Notting Hill, London, on the site of a former cinema. No spectral screenings yet during the night, but always hoping…

Made publishing history:

In 1994 Penguin published my novel, Host, on two floppy discs – as well as print formats – and it is now in the Science Museum as the world’s first electronic novel. It caused huge controversy, I was pilloried on the Radio 4 Today Programme for attempting to destroy the novel, and I was front page news on many papers around the globe, all equally furious! I subsequently became a media spokesperson for the electronic publishing age, and in 1996 found myself as a keynote speaker at a conference at UCLA on the future of reading, alongside (gulp) Steve Jobs and the CEO of Time Warner!

After-Dinner Speaking:

I do regular public speaking events –  after-dinner speaking, guest talks on cruise ships, and speeches in support of charities, and at literary festivals around the globe.


Charterhouse, then Ravensbourne Film School.


I have a huge love of animals. Current headcount includes:

Three dogs. Oscar, a rescue Labrador, Bull Mastiff, Parsons Russell cross (we found that out through a simple DNA test!) who was found abandoned on the streets of Havant, Spook, a young labradoodle who is very bouncy and tries her very best to please, and our new little pup Wally – a mix of labradoodle and goldendoodle.

Eleven hens who generally give us an egg each every day.

Five gorgeous alpacas called Keith, Al Pacino, Boris, Fortescue and Jean-Luc.

Three emus who are super friendly and like to wear hats!

We also have Indian Runner ducks, some wild ducks, geese, moorhens, coots and numerous carp in our lake, and a tropical fish tank the inhabitants of which include a baby shark and a plec.