Natasha Cooper was born in London and has always lived there. She worked in publishing for ten years before leaving to write her first novel. After six historicals published under another name, she found her natural home in crime, first with the lighthearted Willow King series, then with the Trish Maguire novels. She chaired the Crime Writers' Association in 1999/2000. She broadcasts, reviews, writes features and short stories and talks to reading groups and literary festivals in the UK and US.
I am the second of five children – the one on the left as you look at the photograph. We were all born in Kensington, London. Here my big sister and I are sitting on the edge of one of the fountain basins at the Serpentine in Kensington Gardens.
The rest of my family were all immensely academic and I was dyslexic, which made life tricky. It also made my early ambition to be a writer seem impossible. But my grandmother, Catherine Wright, who had had a series of novels published by Hutchinson in the 1920s and 1930s, encouraged me to believe in myself.
Emerging from a slightly eccentric education, I found my way into publishing – and loved it. Climbing the editorial ladder proved easier than anyone could have expected after my wonky start, and, as a young editor, I won the Tony Godwin Memorial Trust Award, which took me to New York for six weeks. Charles Schwartz took this photograph in the Connecticut woods one weekend.
Eventually my early ambition returned and I left publishing to try to write. Six historical novels were published in various editions before I found my natural home in crime fiction. My first, lighthearted, series featured part-time civil servant and romantic novelist Willow King. But with every novel in that series, I did more research into real crime and came to realise that I wanted to work on grittier stuff. This photograph, taken in Tallinn, Estonia, in 2012 sees me talking to Jason Goodwin about my Trish Maguire novels.
Trish Maguire leads my second series. She is a lawyer with both worldly ambition and a biting social conscience, which drives her to become involved in investigations that lie right outside her professional scope. Click here to read a biography of Trish.
When I am not writing crime novels and short stories, I review for The Times, The Times Literary Supplement and the Toronto Globe & Mail.
Since completing the Trish Maguire series, I have written four novels featuring forensic psychologist Karen Taylor: No Escape, Lifeblood, Face of the Devil, and Vengeance in Mind. In the UK they are published under the name N. J. Cooper. In the rest of Europe I still use Natasha Cooper.
Trish's London The Royal Courts of Justice
© Natasha Cooper 2007