I WAS BORN IN MUSSOORIE, INDIA, in the foothills of the Himalayas, in 1941. My mum, Jessica Dean, who was from England, had gone to be a teacher in Iran where she met my dad, Terence Khushal Singh, who was from Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh, India. They married in Mumbai. Following the birth of my brother, Philip and I, we all returned to live in Batala, a small town in the Punjab, where my father had founded a college of further education in an abandoned palace.
In 1954, we found ourselves back in England with another child, my sister, Romie.
I now live in a little Victorian terraced cottage in Stroud, which is my home and my place of work. My family had settled in England where I completed my schooling and further trained as a music student at Trinity College of Music, London. After studies in Paris and Berlin I joined the BBC, first as a Studio Manager in radio, then as a Production Assistant and Director in Music and Arts Programmes in television. Later I married Barrie Gavin and we had two children: a son, Rohan, and a daughter, Indi. It was then that I began writing children’s books, and felt a need to reflect the multi-cultural world in which my children and I lived. With an Indian father and an English mother, I inherited two rich cultures which ran side by side throughout my life, and which always made me feel I belonged to both countries. It was also the driving force behind most of my writing. Travel, which was such a feature of my childhood, is still in my blood and a source of inspiration. Since my first book, The Magic Orange Tree was published in 1979, I have been writing steadily, and producing collections of short stories, teenage novels, plays, and contributing to anthologies and educational schemes for the whole age range from six to sixteen.
"I inherited two rich cultures which have run side by side throughout my life..."