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Valerie Mendes started writing when she was six. Seventy years later, she looks half her age, feels twenty-one – and is still obsessed with telling a good story.

Educated at North London Collegiate School and the University of Reading, Valerie worked as a journalist for part-work publisher Marshall Cavendish before joining the English Language Teaching Division of Oxford University Press. A short stint with Penguin Books and a second one with OUP at their invitation marked her move to Oxfordshire, where she still lives.

After a long career in publishing, Valerie was encouraged to become a full-time writer. She has published two picture books, Tomasina’s First Dance and Look at Me, Grandma! and four young adult novels, Girl in the Attic, Coming of Age, Lost and Found and The Drowning.

Larkswood, Valerie’s first historical novel for the adult market, was published by Orion in 2014, and translated into German. Its paperback edition has sold more than 75,000 copies.

The Choice, Valerie’s second historical novel for adults, is set in Oxford, Woodstock and Cornwall in 1936. It will be published by The Book Guild on 28 May 2017.

Valerie has recently returned to writing for teenagers with Where Peacocks Scream, set in modern day Oxford. The novel will be published by The Book Guild on 28 October 2017.

Valerie is currently working on Awakenings, a third historical novel for adults, set in 1911 in New York, London and Oxfordshire.

Valerie loves walking, gardening, going to the theatre and giving parties for her friends. “But all the time,” she says, “somewhere in my head I am thinking about my latest heroine or villain – and the dark heart of the tale.”