I was born in London and studied at Somerville College Oxford and the London School of Economics. I married, moved to Cornwall and began writing again when my children were small. At the same time my husband and I were running firstly a furniture making business, then a machine manufacture and later a small press – Cargo Press.
Dora’s Room, my first psychological thriller, was chosen for the first WH Smith Fresh Talent promotion in 1993. The Cornish Girl, a C17th romance, followed a year later – though I’d been working on both books for a long time. Nine more Joanna Hines novels followed.
In 2012 Amateurs in Eden, the Story of a Bohemian Marriage was published by Virago under my maiden name, Joanna Hodgkin. That book showed me that non fiction is as much about story telling as fiction is, and opened up a whole new field of discovery. Tell Me Who I Am came out a year later.
Along the way I have always been involved in non writing activities. For some years in Cornwall I worked as a counsellor with Relate, and since returning to London in 2001 I have been a Royal Literary Fund Fellow, first at St Mary’s College in Twickenham and later here in Pimlico. I have also been involved with St James’s Church Piccadilly and with my local Residents’ Association.
I’ve mentored creative writing students with the Writers Centre Norwich, reviewed crime fiction for the Guardian and written occasional articles for the Daily Mail, The Times and many other newspapers and magazines.
All of which sounds most productive and worthy. Reality: I have a huge number of projects begun but never finished. And I devote a lot of time to hanging out with friends and family and watching tv. Time spent looking out of the window is also important, I find.
In the books I have been working on during the last ten years I have begun, tentatively, to weave in something of my faith. It’s very much a work in progress as the more my faith developed the harder it has become to talk and write about it. Baby steps. But getting bolder.