Mary Scriven was brought up in Goring-on-Thames, UK, and went to The Abbey School in Reading. After a career in newspapers and human resource management she lived briefly in Denver, Colorado. She returned to the UK, and in 1976 married and moved to Lyme Regis in Dorset where she worked for the writer John Fowles for over ten years. She studied English at Ruskin College, Oxford and the University of Reading as a mature student before returning to a career in newspapers. She has two grown-up children, Tanya and Ben, and now lives back in Oxfordshire.