Kate-HarrisonKate Harrison

Kate was born in Wigan but as her father was an IT pioneer, she spent much of youth travelling across Britain and even Europe, attending over 13 schools which gave her reams of material for Old School Ties. Her homes have included the Isle of Man, St Helens, Longniddry, Bramhall, Bracknell, Camberley, Newbury and Holland.

Despite the constant moving around, she still managed to pass her exams getting 8 ‘O’ levels and 3 ‘A’ levels although she did fail Art ‘O’ level. Something to do with a teenage obsession with just using black and white!

Determined to be a writer, she attended Highbury College in Portsmouth where she studied journalism and won the ESSO Young Journalist of the Year competition which included a trip to an off-shore gas platform in the North Sea. After a short stint at a news agency, she cut her journalistic teeth at BBC Bristol on local radio and on Points West, as a on-screen reporter and bulletins producer.

She then moved to BBC Birmingham as Midlands Today Education Correspondent before making the break to London and working as a director and producer on a number of programmes fromNewsround to Panorama. She is currently developing new programme ideas for the documentaries and factual department.

Her previous writing credits include winning top prize in a short story competition run by Optionsmagazine and features for the Times Educational Supplement. Kate also recently gained First Class honours in her BA from the Open University.

When not chained to her desk at BBC White City, techie-fan Kate enjoys surfing the internet, cooking and lounging in her West London home with her cat Ozzie (named because she looks like an Ocelot, not after Ozzy Osbourne!).

www.kate-harrison.com

Titles: Old School Ties (Piatkus); The Starter Marriage; Brown Owl’s Guide To Life; The Self-Preservation Society; The Secret Shopper’s Revenge; Old School Ties (paperback); The Secret Shopper Unwrapped (Orion)

The Secret Shopper Unwrapped

harrisonssucoverresizedjpgChristmas is coming, and while the bells are ringing, the tills aren’t. But Sandie – the rising star of the retail spying world – is busier than ever, rooting out the best and worst in festive customer care through her company. The former Charlie’s Shopping Angels are helping out, too. Glamorous widow Grazia is going undercover under the duvet at boutique hotels, in between dating a succession of toyboys and trying to remember which lie she’s told about her age. Meanwhile, not-quite-yummy mummy Emily investigates the child-friendliness of the high street with the help of three-year-old Freddie, when she’s not working flat out with her partner to save their fledging village shop from the un-festive credit crunch. The shoppers are back, but is the happiness they’ve worked so hard for, about to disappear faster than a Louis Vuitton handbag in the Harrod’s sale?

When I finished my novel, I was really excited but also unsure whether it was up to being published… Friends and family loved it, but of course they’re biased! I sent it to a couple of agents who liked the writing but dismissed it as ‘chick lit’ – they thought the market was saturated… The benefit of sending it to Hilary was that an expert publishing insider would take the time to look at it carefully and give me an honest assessment. She told me the writing was very strong, advised me to keep sending it out but also to start something new to keep the momentum. Two months later I won a writing competition and gained a publisher and an agent within one day! The service gave me the confidence to keep going and pursue my dream… which came true in September 2003. ~ Kate Harrison