Helen Abbott

Born near London, Helen - or "AA Abbott" - moved to Birmingham in her teens. She feels the buzzy Midlands city is where she finally spread her wings, meeting the love of her life, finding ideas for fiction and leaving the confines of an impoverished childhood behind. Her thrillers are a heady mash-up of family drama, crime and romance, drawing inspiration from her whacky family and wide circle of friends. As a fundamentally shy person, Helen is amazed she knows so many people, but as she says, "In Birmingham, it doesn't matter if you're quiet. Everyone's so friendly!"

Why "AA Abbott"? In case you haven't guessed, it's Helen's shameless attempt to bag first place on your bookshelf!