#1 New York Times bestselling author

About the author

I'm English, I live in England, and I write English English, except for the spelling of my first 24 novels, although I've gone back to UK English for my new series. But most people think of me as a US author because that's where the bulk of my business and my readers are. (Which has thoroughly messed up my spelling when it comes to -ised and -ized.) Writing novels, screenplays, and comics is my full-time job. But I still think of myself as that noblest of God's monkey-boys – a news journalist – and I still have a hard-wired urge to chase fire engines and harass politicians, or even harass fire engines. I planned to keep my hand in as a spin-doctor, too – fluent Weasel spoken here, and my vitriol could make Malcolm Tucker cry – but I found my evil persuasive powers were best used to enhance my own image, thanks very much.

Like most writers, I've been around a bit. Much of my working life has been spent as a TV and newspaper reporter. At one time or another I've taught journalism, and been an advertising copywriter, a police media spokesweasel, a public relations manager and a defence correspondent. I spent time in the Royal Naval Auxiliary Service (now disbanded, alas) and the Territorial Army. But bear in mind that the most hazardous thing I've ever faced was a Royal Navy meat pie. (No discernible lumps: slurry en croûte.) I'm not GI Jane. Don't include me with the fine men and women who do a truly dangerous job in our armed forces, both as regulars and reservists, because I have the privilege of knowing many of them, and they're the real deal, and I am not.

I freely admit to having a terrible fountain pen habit. And then there's the pencils. And the gadgets. I also believe that a sensible food triangle consists of pork scratchings, coffee, avocados, Assam tea, kabocha pumpkin, and Caesar salad. Given the ever-changing contradictory bollocks that most nutrition experts spout, I'm as likely to be right as they are, as well as a lot happier.

That's all the personal detail you're going to get. People (especially youngsters doing school projects) mail me to ask where they can find out more, and my answer is that there isn't any, so any info they find on other sides may well be complete fantasy. I advise people never to post personal details on the internet, and I practice what I preach. If you really want to publish all the information your bank uses to identify you, that's your look-out, but just bear in mind that there are lots of expert data-miners like me out there who can use the most innocuous information quite legally to access even more stuff you probably wouldn't want to be made public. And that's without all the scammers harvesting info to use illegally and God only knows what else is happening on the government side of things. If in doubt – leave it out.

© 2017 Karen Traviss